Monitoring kids' online activity a matter of trust

 There is no way for parents to monitor what their children are doing all the time.
There is no way for parents to monitor what their children are doing all the time. PHOTO: ST FILE

There is no way for parents to monitor what their children are doing all the time ("Parental involvement key to raising media-savvy kids" by Ms Vicky Ho; March 9). They also cannot always get involved in every single thing their children do.

When parents get overly involved, it pushes the child to do things that he should not, such as talking to people he normally would not talk to and writing disparaging remarks about people online.

Children will find a way to get around any monitoring. At some point, they will have to take responsibility for their own actions.

While it is reasonable for parents to put up blocks and restrictions to filter Internet traffic, outright monitoring can interfere with a child's ability to express private thoughts.

Children use social media as a way of releasing pent-up emotions. They might not want their parents to get involved because they may be expressing negative emotions about the parents themselves.

Friends are important to children and being able to talk to them through social media, without having to worry about their parents reading what they say, allows them to freely express themselves.

Parents should have faith that they have raised their children to make the right choices when it comes to media consumption.

They need to trust that their children have picked good friends to surround themselves with.

They should also build a strong relationship with their children, so that if the children have an issue online, such as encountering cyber bullying, they would feel comfortable enough to approach their parents.

The bond between a parent and a child is made through trust. When parents allow their children to join a social media site, they are giving them their trust to make the right decisions.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline 'Monitoring kids' online activity a matter of trust'. Print Edition | Subscribe