Members of one Parental Group discuss the issue during an interactive session.
“I uploaded 140 characters today, for the world to know that I am still breathing. Maybe if this algorithm wasn’t so entwined with my D.N.A, then I would remember what it feels like to be human.”
This is an excerpt from a monologue recited by Zakiya Gill entitled “140 characters,” in which she lamented the loss of physical contact and personal communication, with the advent of social media. Her impactful presentation was made at the first Parental Support Group Workshop 2016 hosted by the Community Mediation Services Division of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, on Wednesday 6th April 2016, under the theme, “Parenting, Juvenile Indiscipline and Mis-behaviour in the Age of Social Media and Mobile Electronics.”
Sherene Mohammed of the Centre for Human Development, which facilitated the day’s programme, said parents must set proper examples as they use social media in order to positively influence their children. During her interactive session, she also urged parents to talk to their children about social media and set boundaries for its use.
While social media has provided another means of communication, there are also risks associated with its use, such as cyber-bullying, which could lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. The use of social media also creates an unnatural willingness to share personal information with strangers which can present a significant security risk for minors.
Parents were therefore encouraged to maintain open channels of communication with their children, especially as it relates to the use and the dangers of social media. In her welcoming remarks, Executive Director of the Mediation Division, Ms Beverly Harry-Emmanuel remindedparents that they must remain ‘in touch’ with their children by also embracing social media. She indicated that one goal of the workshop was to help parents manage this technology which greatly influences the lives of their children, both positively and negatively.
The workshop covered the following areas:
- Parenting in Trinidad and Tobago in 2016
- The Benefits and Risks of Social Media and Youth/Children
- Communicating Effectively with your Youth/Children in the Age of Social Media
- Social Media and Developmental Milestones
- Social Media, Parenting and Special Needs Youth/Children
One of the main overall objectives of the parenting workshops is to provide the various community groups from across the country with the opportunity to network with each other and share their parenting experiences.
The next Mediation Parental Support Group Workshop is scheduled for Wednesday April 27, 2016 with a focus on the theme, “Decision Making.”