Written by Blossom Nnodim - Nigeria
It all started with a chance meeting on that breezy evening. I had gone to pick up my children from school and, suddenly, there she was, the proprietress of the school, looking rather radiant in her crimson attire.
For what seemed an eternity, I basked in the unknown warmth of the celebrity status as she excitedly informed me that she had been a regular reader of my articles in The PUNCH.
As I was still trying to take in this excitement, she asked me to help teach the grade four pupils stuffs about the social media during the school's Parent-Teaching Day.
Fast forward to the following week. I had so much fun sharing and learning some cool stuff about the social media from a bunch of excited school children. I made an attempt to grasp what they already knew about the subject. I must say that I was really impressed by what they knew.
The reality is that they, too, are aware of the social media. Also I told them about my 'friend', Mark Zuckerberg – the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook. They were quite impressed with his achievement and went further to intimate me on what they would likely ask him if they had the opportunity to meet him in life.
It is my pleasure to share their ideas below:
First, pretty Clare informed me that the social media is something we use in connecting with people. She asked Mark if he was married. If so, did he love his wife? She went further to tell me that I was pretty. God bless her heart, I love girls who know how to play the flattery game.
Next, stern-looking Okwy said the social media served as a means of communication with other people online. His quick question for Mark was how he made his billions. More important, he asked him about his age.
I had always thought that I was a robust storyteller until I met Emmanuel, who took time to explain how the social media works.
"The social Media is like this: when you are not with someone and the person is somewhere far away, you can just go on the Internet to talk with the person or make a phone call to him or her," he said.
I had to take a deep breath. As for Mark, Emmanuel simply wanted to know why he dropped out of Harvard University.
Calm and calculated Serena opined that the social media gives one an opportunity to dialogue with someone that is not within reach. She would also love to get some freebie (108 Million dollars) from Mark.
My son, Daniel, was next. He simply reeled out about five social media platforms for me with a "deal with it" look. I was not surprised when his only question for Mark was if he could be his personal assistant. No less, it will afford him an opportunity to learn at the feet of the master himself.
Most conversations about resource governance presume that children could hardly be bothered about affluence and lack. I unlearned this thought when Chigozie stood up and enthused, rather quickly, that the social media is a platform that enables folks to socialise with others, using the various platforms available. He hardly dwelled on this as his focus was on voicing out his question for Mark Zuckerberg. He wanted to know what Mark would do if his money should run out. Now, this is a hugely intelligent question. I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed.
I could go on and on. But I will want to say that, as adults, we should not assume that our children do not know about social media. There is a probability that they might even know more than we can imagine. The responsibilities are still on us as parents and guardians to willingly and rightly teach our children. Even if we pretend that this is not a salient aspect of our daily life, the good news is that they will still learn one way or another.
The not-so-good news is that they might learn it the wrong way with equally wrong motives and conversational style.
The social media has come to stay. They will keep evolving in years to come with the need to make the entire world a global village. Grounding your child in the knowledge of the media without taking away their Internet enabled devices is as good as taking a child to a candy store and expecting him or her not to be excited.
We can become e-parents today, not just because we are tech-savvy; but because we want to be adequately equipped to teach our children the right ways to embrace this non-ending and constantly evolving trend called social media.