Friday, April 12, 2024

AWRIGHT DEN: Bad parents

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When I served as the Commonwealth Youth Programmes Regional Youth Caucus Representative of Barbados, also known as the Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, I would have monthly regional meetings online via MSN Messenger.
Our meetings would begin at 8 p.m. and would finish generally around 10 p.m. One evening, our meeting finished just after 11 p.m. and I decided to spend some time chatting with a few friends on MSN. Around 12 a.m., I heard the notification sound for someone signing into MSN Messenger. I was a bit curious to see who it was and to my surprise it was a second form student.
I asked the student what they were doing online at that late hour, especially on a school night. The student responded: “Sir, I just talking wid my friends.” I asked the student where her parents were and if they knew she was online. She responded: “Sir, my mudda and fadda sleeping and dem know I online.”
I instructed the student to sign off and go to bed.
Parents need to set rules and standards for their children and set appropriate punishments for breaking those standards. Parents also need to be more involved in their children’s social life especially now that we live in the technology era with the dot com generation.
I have randomly visited the Facebook pages of some of my students and I was very disappointed with the vulgarity that is to be found on their pages.
Sometime last year, there was a Facebook group formed called Scabbical. This page was created so people could post sexually explicit pictures of themselves or others. When I was alerted about the page, it only had about 75 to 100 members. In about 45 minutes, the number increased to around 500 and in about an hour almost 1 000. On the site I saw pictures of some of my students as well as other young people I knew. Many of the individuals who “liked” the page were children under 16 years old.
A group of us were able to spread the word of the formation of the group and were able to get it closed. Amazingly, within a few hours, another Scabbical group was created and once again the members or “likes” grew quickly.
As I said earlier, it is vitally important for parents to be more involved in their children’s social life. Parents need to, where possible, protect their children from anything that can corrupt them or lead them in the wrong direction.
I want to make a suggestion that parents make a deal with their children that if they want to continue to have a Facebook page they must add them. That gives parents the ability to monitor from time to time what discussions, images and videos are posted on their children’s page.
Another solution would be for parents to routinely ask their children to sign into their (the children’s) Facebook accounts and do a check as to the activity on the page.
Some people may say these two suggestions are a bit extreme, but I believe a parent must do everything possible to protect their children and make sure, where possible, to create a safe and productive environment for them.
Music is a huge part of our young people’s lives and there is a lot of both positive and negative music out there. Parents also need to be aware of what their children are listening to. I believe parents should also routinely ask their children for their iPods, MP3 players, PSPs and laptops and spend some time listening to the lyrics that consume their minds daily. If the lyrics of the music are sexually explicit, violent or demonic, you as a parent have the right to delete it.
A bad parent doesn’t make bad decisions. A bad parent makes no decisions. As a parent you are the leader and as a result you are responsible for the direction, development and care of your children.
Don’t forget, bad company corrupts good character but discipline develops character.

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