Teach your children about digital foot prints

Teach your children about digital foot prints

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 7:18 am

Funmi Peter-Omale

By Funmi Peter-Omale

Sometimes, as parents,s we make really silly decisions and mistakes that come to bite us really badly later.

We always do this with good intentions and propensity, and then we discover we’d make mistakes that are irreversible or had even done bigger damage than the original.

In fact, you don’t have to be a parent to have fallen into this trap of trying to correct wrongs, but inadvertently drawing unnecessary attention, unacceptable ridicules and inviting unimaginable volume of vituperatives unto yourselves and/or family.

That’s what I see with the video release by the mother of the 10 year old school girl. She hasn’t helped matters but rather compounded everything, inviting unnecessary attention to an issue that otherwise, should have been dealt quietly with, by inviting security agencies and authorities in charge of education in Lagos state to investigate.

By going on social media, perverted minds and weirdos have not only been searching for and sharing the said original video; but they have dug up other suggestive videos that as a parent I find very very disturbing and unpalatable. (I have not watched and will not watch any of them).

The whole scenario is terribly disturbing and annoying because of the age of the child involved.

Let’s face it, this potential is enough to mar and traumatise a child for life. And by the way not only the child but also associated friends, classmates and maybe even her parents.

Because going by evidence being circulated, this case is more than meeting the ordinary eyes. It is far bigger than the mother had envisaged.

Some of us parents have ourselves to blame when we post everything about our lives, young children and family matters on social media.

Because we do, and our children see us doing same, they grow up believing “yes it is alright to do what I see dad or see mum doing.” or maybe they see other family members, including wayward domestic staff doing these things and because they spend more times with the latter than their parents, the get lured into what I will refer to as the” wayward cult”, where decency and all cautions are thrown out of the window. Young people become free spirited, uncaring and could become social embarrassments against their family values and beliefs.

I agree nobody is perfect, but when adults behave like children, and can not restrain themselves or discipline themselves, they will face ridicule of the highest order. When we as adults, cannot differentiate between social media and personal privacy, we end up sending out the wrong vibes to our children and others alike.

I have said this many times, the social media is toxic, brutal and unforgiving. If you do not know how to navigate just stay out, or keep it simple or even just use for business. Because the trolls will always get you, social media advisors and whatsnots will always “chook” mouth in whatever you post.

You don’t need to invite them, they are gate crashers, and they will gladly do that with so much gusto that you’ll end up questioning your own identity, to the detriment of your mental wellbeing. I know because it happened to me and I had to deactivate my Fb for sometime and still does it regularly.

For instance, whoever advised the mother of that young girl to come on social media to cry out or tell her own side of the story, did her the greatest disservice and probably caused her much more distress.

Right from the beginning of her statement, I became disinterested. She started by saying the school rang her to come for a meeting in connection with her daughter but she was busy and didn’t go until two days later! I just stopped paying attention to what she was saying at that point. For me, I thought she should prioritise her daughter over whatever it was she was doing or going to do.

I’m a mother. Some mothers I have spoken to, noted that singular action was an indication of lack of interest in her child. And I agree. No business, person or work is more important than my children.

We are expected to say this to them, and show it everyday, in every way you can (and that’s not by buying or spending ridiculous amounts of money on frivolity).

Granted maybe she was out of town, couldn’t she have nominated her husband, a sister or friend to go on her behalf?

To leave it for two days, the mother inadvertently (unconsciously) allowed the video circulated around more and the school had gained more grounds to clandestinely meet with her underage daughter without her … There are gaping holes in her story, and any decent parent will immediately see them. Of course in hindsight, I bet she’s seen or realised her mistakes. A lot of background checks and information gathering would have helped her make informed decisions on what to do next.

Unfortunately, she hastely embarked on a social media drive to name and shame the school. She has the guts to come on social media to call out and blame the school when she was nonchalant when they called her?

She may have thought coming online was going to do good, unfortunately people that didn’t know anything before, perverts and weirdos are now searching everywhere looking for not only the original video from Dubai but also other suggestive videos of that child and sharing them!!!

This woman wanted attention to blame the school authorities, but facts coming out have decimated her good intentions.

Personally, I always say and will always maintain that a child is a reflection of her ubiquitous upbringing or otherwise.

I as a mother will blame myself if my child does any acts that bring embarrassment and shame to the family. I’ll check myself first, admit where I have failed before poking hands at others.

School is school, home is home. Teachers are paid to teach, we parents are meant to train. If we train our children today, they will think twice before misbehaving and ridiculing us outside.

I do not think it’s morally right to think we should saddle our parental responsibilities to school authorities. The children will finish and leave the school, and come back home.

And if the parents have failed in their duties, this come back to bite them.

“Proverbs say tọ́ọ́ ọmọ rẹ kíí ó le fún ọ ní ìsinmi”. The training we give our children today, right from the foundation is the peace we get tomorrow.

Unfortunately, this incident has ultimately done more harm than good. The digital footprints of this 10-year-old, albeit unpalatable, will follow her everywhere she goes. She cannot and will never be able to delete them. They are there and will affect not only her today but tomorrow.

Teach your children about DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS, if they make unsavoury videos of dirty presence and profiles on special media, these can come to bite them later. Being rich doesn’t take care of some problems. A dirty social media presence is one of them.

* Funmi Peter-Omale

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