DIGITAL WORLD THREATS

DENNIS WENDO: Social media and parenting approach

The young people, right from primary, secondary, tertiary to the universities, have embraced social media

In Summary

• Cyber- related crimes such as phishing, cyber extortion, cryptojacking, money laundering and cyber espionage are taking over courtesy of the internet.

• Of great concern is the impact of social media on parenting.

Social media sites
Social media sites
Image: FILE

Technology, internet and social media have radically changed the world of communication.                                                                                           

By and large, the evolution of ICT has yielded positive societal change with immense value addition growth. However, it has given birth to unprecedented challenges that are now becoming a threat world-over.

Cyber- related crimes such as phishing, cyber extortion, cryptojacking, money laundering and cyber espionage are taking over courtesy of the internet.

Of great concern is the impact of social media on parenting. Social media services are geared towards boosting connections, interactions and building communities by enabling users to create, co-operate, modify, share and engage with each other with ease, conveniently and cost effectively.

The world has been digitised into an ‘internet village-like hub’ with social media services such as Facebook,  Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, Myspace, Skype, podcasts, weblogs, YouTube and Google, among others, now being used extensively for communication and education.

Use of ICT is now the new norm as evidenced during the Covid-19 period. Learning institutions were at one point all closed and online classes and training adopted.  Most institutions have encouraged their staff to work from home.  This has made a majority of households to have smart phones, laptops and internet connection.

The young people, right from primary, secondary, tertiary to the universities, have embraced social media  and use it to exchange ideas, feelings, personal information, images and videos.  Despite the positives gained, vices have been cited among the school-going youths, teenagers and families at length.

Cases of academic distractions, psychological distress, anxiety, bullying, abnormal isolation and social withdrawals have increased.

Our youths are least utilising social media platforms objectively but largely for leisure.

Our teenagers and youths have become lazy, with little or no time for research but with a quick appetite for short cuts, quick-results via internet applications.

Bizarre and unimaginable happenings are taking place on social media where there are massive fake job adverts, lotteries and scholarships, cultism-luring, phishing, radicalisation, terrorism recruitment and dating. 

Many people have fallen prey to these online offers, losing huge amounts of cash, personal data and online dating that has resulted in increased strange love-triangles, suicides, homicides and femicides.

Many teenagers have been forced to employ alternative methods of getting quick cash to satisfy their social media egos and engagements. Incidences of online porn-site recruitment among the youth have become rampant.

Various theories such as the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology, theory of reasoned action and theory of reasoned behaviour have alluded to the fact that the influence of attitudes and behavioural intention on the use of technology/system cannot be over-stressed.

“The theories agree that the intention to perform certain behavior precedes the actual behaviour. If students or the teenagers understand that; the use of social media for academic activities will enhance their academic performance, there is the possibility that such platforms will be employed for rightfully”

Parents who are convinced that the use of social media would enhance academic performance of their children adopt a style that would encourage such.  Parental control and guidance are effective in reducing the negative situations that children face through the Internet medium, with fairness not to compromise the future of the child.

There exists a close link in parenting styles to children’s use of social media and academic performance. Parents need to know how to teach their children to make appropriate decisions around technology and adopt the best parenting style.

As we embrace and adopt the CBC system, there is a need for the enforcers to incorporate social media in the computer studies curriculum.

Dennis Wendo

Director- Integrated Development Network