Keep watchful eye on your children in Internet era - GulfToday

Keep watchful eye on your children in Internet era


Dr Rommel Pilapil Sergio speaks in the United International Private School in Dubai. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Two educators in Dubai—one a practising lawyer from the US and the other, a human resources/psychology expert/journalist in the Philippines—have reminded parents of their huge responsibility in getting involved with their children’s lives especially so that several studies from all parts of the world have disclosed the wicked effects of the unmonitored and unhealthy use of the Internet and the social media.

“If your children get (petrified) when you (become inquisitive) with their social media (interactions), the more you should get to be more interested in knowing. They may be hiding something from you,” said Canadian University Dubai (CUD) assistant professor Atty. Nora Barson.

“Even if our children were highly intelligent and honour students, but if they were rude or disrespectful, I believe we have failed as parents,” said CUD associate professor Dr Rommel Pilapil Sergio in Filipino.

He added that while academic achievements are vital in employability as these provide the solid foundation in majority of the workplaces around the world, there is also such a thing as “ethical education.” Sergio defined “ethical education” as the foundation of the values in-built in everyone’s character and in children, specifically among those in the fragile stage of puberty, primarily by their homes.

He said parents should bear in mind that what their children would become is knitted so well with how they are reared as a person.

Sergio pointed this out since at this age and time, people have been so wired to believe that smartness and intelligence are the consequence of one’s proficiency in the use of all the technological advancements to the detriment of social skills, good manners and right conduct.

He cited global studies showing that people exposed to multi-tasking as a result of the easy access to the Internet and related technological progress only have their attention span at 20 minutes. Sergio said the ones before the Internet and the social media have been proved to be more productive and well-rounded individuals with longer attention span because they were trained to become more focused, more persevering, more hardworking, more disciplined in their quest for their ambitions in accordance to time frames.

Sergio believes children’s exposure to the Internet and the social media must only be limited like “only during the weekend and with strict monitoring by well-meaning family and people” as children must develop more their social skills leading to become more humane.

“Your character determines your direction” as one saying goes and which Gulf Today saw at one of the offices in the United International Private School (UIPS) in Dubai on Saturday.

It was at the UIPS where Barson and Sergio respectively lectured on “Revisiting the UAE Cybercrime Laws: helping your children avoid the pitfalls of using the social media” and “Positive well-being for adolescence protection: helpful guide for parents.” The lectures were part of the continuing outreach programme of the school administration to its stakeholders.

These were held as this broadsheet reported on Saturday that over at the United Nations, the UAE’s Muslim Council of Elders secretary general Dr. Sultan Al Remeithi had reaffirmed the government’s tough stand against all forms of hate speech in all mediums and safeguarding religious sites as it is hell-bent in promoting tolerance and peace.

Barson discussed the UAE Cybercrime Laws and defamation, including the consequences of intentional and negligent posting of photographs over the various social media sites. She then connected these with the parents’ huge responsibility to strictly monitor their children’s social media activities.

Barson initially asked the question on whether the seminar participants fully know who their children are conversing with over the Internet and their social media: “Is this truly a friend of their age? A 45-year-old man predator/criminal/thief?”

Barson said: “We have to learn how to (convey messages the way we mean these) and teach our children how to do it, too.” She said judicial cases may be filed by the recipient or the targeted person/ of the message. What matters is their perception as the message/comment/post may either be slanderous, libelous, derogatory, humiliating against them.

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