The smart child in the media jungle

The balancing act between the wishes of the children and the worries of the parents

Article was written on 27.07.2020 by Charlotte.

Endless discussions, a lot of yelling and sneaking around. These are my first thoughts about media in my youth. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get away from it all and make arrangements together in a discussion that would bring everyone on board? A few very personal ideas about media in families.

The smart child in the media jungle

What a stress I had at home because I wanted to sign up on Facebook. My parents wouldn't let me. Sure, there are enough horror stories about accidentally public events or embarrassing photos. But they couldn't understand that I felt I was missing something because my friends were there. After all, there were enough other ways to stay in touch.

All or nothing works only at the light switch

Many parents are insecure. I now understand my parents' concerns. I also know that "Everybody else can too!" is not a good argument. There is a huge amount of media, be it social networks or video platforms. And it's getting more and more! Nobody can keep track of all this and keep all the dangers in sight. But it doesn't help to simply ban everything.

With other parents the excessive demands lead to the opposite reaction. Because they cannot get an overview, everything is allowed. This may make for less fighting at home, but it's not good either. I find it hard to fall asleep after staring at a screen for a long time. And no matter what channel, there is a lot going on everywhere, it is colourful and loud. It's too much for even adults to handle. Many don't know that this can be at least as harmful for children. The media and technology world is too new and fast-moving for that.

No one has the ultimate solution at hand

Parents are surrounded by an overabundance of advice on the subject of media and those who know everything better anyway and are grumbling with raised forefinger. It is clear that nobody can find a simple and quick solution. And yet it is good to deal with the topic of media instead of falling into one extreme or the other.

Media in itself are neither good nor bad, it depends on how we deal with them (Media in itself is neither good nor bad). And most children don't want embarrassing pictures of them to be spread or strangers to stand in front of their house. And yet they want to stay up to date. What do their friends do, what happens in other parts of the world and what moves their peers?

More understanding for each other helps

It is not at all bad not to be familiar with everything and not to know what is on offer. Nobody can. Instead, we can learn together. I would have been happy if my parents had sat down with me, explained their concerns and I could have explained my point of view to them. I could have told them what I wanted to use Facebook for in the first place and we could have talked about absolute no-go areas in social media (No-Gos in social media). Maybe we could have come to an agreement, I could have logged into Facebook earlier and we could have gone through the privacy settings together. That would have saved us a lot of arguments. But I was too much of a teenager for that, being a bit naive about the potential dangers of the network, and my parents' concerns were too great.

At some point I was allowed to register, by the way. Meanwhile I hardly use Facebook anymore, I hardly uploaded any photos or posted anything. In the end it was a lot of drama for almost nothing.


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