I remember plunging into the world of cyberspace for the first time with a lot of excitement. It opened up so many different avenues for me. Seated at home, I could connect with so many different people all over the world, not just with people in the city I lived in or the country I belonged to.
And then, my son was born!
It changed a lot of things especially when I found less and less time for a medium of communication that had become an integral part of my life. Like for any other woman who becomes a mother and life begins afresh, my son’s entry into my world did exactly that for me.
And then, after a while, my little son had transformed into a teenager!
Being the son of a professional writer, he had got used to seeing a side of his mother that was up to date with many of the things which children of his age wanted to experiment with – like getting net savvy, connecting across continents, becoming part of social groups online, etc. Of course, many a time, in his desire to become part of this exciting world of cyberspace he forgot that his mother was making use of this medium more for her work, less for making new friends and not at all to be considered Internet savvy to impress others!
Much as I wanted my son to use this wonderful medium of communication to learn, to become aware and to make use of it in his academic and extra-curricular activities in school, I was also wary of the dangers that lurked on the Internet highway having been there myself. While Internet came to me much later in life, this world of instant communication was there all the while my son was growing up from toddler to teenager.
While I tread the path of Internet with caution, my son strolled the road of cyberspace in a very careless and carefree manner – very much the attitude of most youngsters today who perceive the Internet no different from the buttered toast that they have for breakfast every day!
By that time I had also become aware of cyber harassment something which I did not even bother to worry about when I had started using the net ages ago. Times had changed. The mentality of people, children had changed too. Nobody was staying innocent for long anymore, thanks to the Internet for one reason. Every kind of information was available on the net in a jiffy from making love to making bombs. But, there was no point panicking, this much I understood.
If I restricted net usage getting frightened by all the above mentioned dangers, my son was going to look elsewhere to use the net for playing games, etc. So, at the risk of restricting the parents’ privacy, of getting our space trampled, we (my husband and I) decided to place the computer in the living room (it was in our bedroom initially) with the monitor available for all to see. This way, we were cautious when we used the net and were also able to supervise our son’s net usage without appearing to pry into his work.
After all, that little thing called trust had to be there in the background, something which could neither be done away with nor taken for granted. Not that we weren’t faced with opposition initially. But, it was all sorted out when our son realised that the rules that were being applied to him were being applied to us too!
I feel strongly about this subject. It even prompted me to write a researched article for the parenting magazine, Parent Circle.
I would love to know what you feel about this issue.
Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.