“I don’t keep any password on my phone. I have nothing to hide.” said a friend of mine with an air of defiance. A group of us was chattering away noisily over some yummy homemade chaat when the topic of sharing personal data with spouses and kids came up. I had reservations about this approach but chose to keep mum. Even if we’re thick we can’t trespass certain boundaries with friends too.
My restless mind, however, couldn’t help wonder at the common mistake people make between trust and invasion of privacy. When we visit the washroom we trust our family not to walk in but we still lock the door to protect our dignity and privacy, don’t we? “What if someone doesn’t know I’m inside?” is our obvious and apt worry. Similarly, can we ALWAYS know who touches or browses through our phone? Instead of being completely strapped off security wouldn’t it be a good idea to have at least some basic guard?
As a blogger (who spends a good amount of time on phone) and a mother, in this post I’m trying to focus on giving phone/gadget access to our kids. Here are some reasons why I feel we willingly hand over our devices to kids:
I’m busy and can’t be disturbed
Attending to something urgent, need for some sleep or just plain me-time, the reasons can be many. All we want is to get them off our backs for some time and this is the easiest solution. Of course, we give in to their tantrums just to shut them up too.
Cartoons are fun and kids love them
Kids often get cranky while travelling, feeding, eating or with people they’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Letting them watch their favourite videos or cartoons gives us some much-needed respite. Sadly, the kind of cartoons shown nowadays are sometimes misleading and aren’t always screened for suitability.
Everyone is using them!
Parenting becomes tougher when we have parents with exactly opposite rules and methods around us. When our kids mingle they’re bound to learn new things and demand them from us. We may reluctantly cave in sometimes.
My kids should master technology
Who doesn’t want their kids to be well-versed with the latest developments in technology? Even a one year old baby can figure out using smartphones after a few attempts. Harmful exposure to screens is a topic beyond this post, although the damaging habit formed at such a young age is definitely within reach and a matter of grave concern.
He/she doesn’t know much about social media
We undermine our children by assuming that they know less. Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and other such apps keep us logged in to them all day and give our kids unhindered access to them. I’ve seen mothers asking their 5yo to reply or comment on their behalf. Not sure if this is ignorance or laziness but it definitely doesn’t seem right.
I use my laptop for blogging while my social media use is almost extensively from my phone. There isn’t any inappropriate content on my handle or timeline but I cannot control the many ads and pop-ups that come up from nowhere. Not just that, I cannot risk losing data or getting an account accidentally deleted too. Setting some ground rules might make me seem harsh but our privacy is determined by us, isn’t it?
I’ve spoken to A Jr about it and he understands my need to lock my phone with a password at all times. I sit with him when he wants to watch videos or play games on it and disconnect the data when not needed. He used to be grouchy with this earlier but he knows the reason behind it and respects it now. Talking to our kids and making them understand the meaning of trust and privacy is our responsibility, isn’t it?
Which kind of parent are you? Do you agree with my thoughts here? Would love to know your take on this.