“I don’t want control, I want to let go! What about us?” These are words sung by Pink. Our children don’t want more control, they want to let go. They want and need to be children.
Are our children listening to us? We are told to talk. We are told to embrace technology. #WeAreSoWithIt. We are told to trust our children and expose them to the safe use of the internet. We have been led to believe that by showing our children, the dangers of the internet, we are helping them to avoid the virtual pitfalls.
But what is actually happening is that we have buried our heads in the sand. We assume our children are savvy and internet smart: we assume our children won’t make seemingly obvious blunders! But they are.
In C.S. Lewis’, The Great Divorce, he wrote that a sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Let’s stop and reflect and compose ourselves.
The computer and the internet have duped us – we are part of the problem. We have merely pointed out the doors which are not to be opened, the pitfalls to be avoided and highlighted the alarming statistics, but… we have forgotten to hold onto our children and guide them. They are walking blind, walking alone in this crowded and cruel virtual world.
Now more than ever, do we need to hold firm, be strong and resist the machine. We created the wonderful technology that is the smart phone and it can be done again! We are wonderfully creative beings. We don’t NEED all this. Sure it helps and is useful but it is by no means essential to our life and future success. We will always invent, create and adapt to our environment. Why do we think that technology is paramount? It doesn’t have to be. Did we not all think that diesel was the way forward that plastic toys were cool and that big hair was fashionable?
Some of us have, I believe, given up. Yes, we are concerned, frightened and we have no idea how to fix this. To date, our answer has been to educate – because that’s the way that we were brought up. Surely education is the answer? At Hazlegrove, children don’t have mobile phones, they only have iPads as part of their lessons, and the focus is on the person next to them and not the device in their hands.
We tell our children that we are here for them and we bombard them with facts, figures and YouTube videos, but secretly we are crossing fingers, praying and feeling utterly helpless, at the while hoping that it won’t happen to our children. Let’s get our children back. Let’s unplug them from this crazy virtual world, where a child can be abused and bullied by someone they have never even met or seen in person.
I get the sinking feeling that our children are not talking to us. This surprises us but if we keep on having to say “Talk to us”, the harsh reality might be that we are in fact, not talking to them.
Let’s talk. Not just about E-safety, but about life and love. Let’s reclaim family time and let’s embrace parenting. We have become passive victims. Let’s become active agents in our children’s safety.
A passage from the same book by C.S. Lewis: “I wish I had never been born,” she said. “What are we born for?” “For infinite happiness,” said the Spirit. “You can step out into it at any moment…”
The moment is now!