I, like any parent am fiercely protective of my daughter’s information and who it is shared with, including how it is shared. So, in that sense, I am a tiger mum protecting her cub. I am not talking about being a tiger mum in the sense of hyper-disciplining parenting and laser-like focus on achievement and performance – which is the general understanding of the term. Granted, I would like my daughter to do well academically along with her extra-curricular activities, but not to that extent.
What I am talking about is being protective of information shared about my daughter over the internet. I have no problem with sharing and this is apparent in that I have a blog, but in this current climate of over saturation and misuse of digital information, I feel I have some control over what is shared. I can’t control what happens once information and images have been posted to social media sites/ the internet but I feel I have some right to control what is posted and by whom.
I saw an illustration depicting the comparison of your privacy to online privacy and I have shared it below. I am aware that I am opening up my privacy to others when posting online but I feel that, probably like many others, that there is still some measure of control over what, how much and to what level I share my life. There are also measures you can put in place on Facebook, Instagram, etc to help increase your security and assist you with screening who is provided access to information and images. As I become more aware of the pitfalls of social media, I try to find ways to minimise those risks as much as possible. I know once information is on the World Wide Web, it’s anyone’s guess what and how it can be used. Due to being in the learning profession, I have also provided a training session on social media in the workplace – the privacy issues, settings and appropriate conduct, so I feel I have some awareness of the issues but feel that I am always learning.
It’s a learning curve for all parents and I feel it is something that should be discussed with not only your children but also other family members to ensure they are aware of your concerns and what you feel is appropriate to share. I felt it was an unspoken rule but when I saw something regarding my daughter, that concerned me, posted by a family member – out came the tiger mum. Everyone will have their own ‘standards’ and that is fine, although I feel it is important to reinforce them if you feel they have been breached. I feel this is something that parents will struggle with as their children grow up surrounded by technology and access to new technologies. These new technologies are brought to market where sometimes not all the rules, consequences and applications have all been discovered but unfold as they are being used. Also, the way they are used or what they are used for also reveals sometimes adverse consequences. There are already many differing stories in the media about technology/ social media and the impacts on society. I feel it is just the tip of the iceberg as more digital technology is developed and more applications become available. The accessibility, or ease of accessibility seems to be contributing to this dilemma.
Along with the usual peer pressures and ‘growing pains’, social media adds to parents’ anxiety in raising their children. As information is more readily accessible – as much as social media, we have the choice to arm ourselves with this information and have open conversations with our children, families and friends to ensure they are aware of our concerns. I have had conversations with friends who have issues with children spending too much time on their digital devices and discussing options to reduce this. They have all said how much nicer it is when the family has an outing or meal without digital devices. Creating a balance may prove tricky but disconnecting from digital devices aids in better interactions that are real and memorable – more so than a selfie or Facebook post will ever be. I feel setting standards and having open discussion about digital technology denotes the starting point to combat this issue…and hopefully avoids me having to be a ‘tiger’ mum.