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On Friday after work, I went to spend the weekend at my aunt’s place in Surulere area of Lagos. When I got into the gate of the house, my aunt’s oldest son ran towards me and hugged me in excitement, we walked into the sitting room and I handed him the snacks I bought for him and his siblings.

Tobi is 14 years old, smart and very confident. I sometimes wish my son could be as confident as he is even if I am yet to be married ..lol. After a while, Tobi hurried to me in excitement to show me the BlackBerry Bold 5 phone his mom bought for him.  I was happy for him, seeing he was excited gave me so much joy.  Tobi is so inquisitive; he can ask questions for Africa. Aunty, do you have a facebook account? He asked, I replied with a question, are you on Facebook? I was shocked to hear that he knows facebook has an account people open. Yes aunty, I have a facebook account.  Being 14 years old, I was curious to know how he knew about Facebook, I asked and he told me that he got to know through his friends in school.  He also added that he was also on Instagram and 2go. On hearing this, I was amazed.

The following morning, Tobi’s mom called him to do his chores and he responded ‘mom I am coming’. I and his mom soon got cooking and chatting in the kitchen when she suddenly realised she hadn’t seen Tobi come out of his room to do his chores. She became angry and yelled.  Quickly, I hurried into his room to know what he was doing, on getting to his room, I discovered he had an earpiece on and was listening to music from his phone. He didn’t even notice I had walked in. I tapped him and told him to give me his phone and go right away to do his chores.

Earlier, Tobi’s mom confirmed that he gets so engrossed whenever he is with his phone. I was curious and decided to check what he has been up to; I discovered he was watching a musical video by WizKid on Facebook. I flipped through his other social media platforms and lo and behold I was stunned. Wow! a 14years old using fowl words, posting and commenting on obscene contents.

I wondered if my aunt was aware of his active involvement on social media. However, I felt since she was a learned and modern mother, she just might know better. Still lost in my thoughts, Tobi’s mom called me and I hurriedly left to answer the call.

In this digital era, there is no doubt that there is a wide acceptability and usage of social media. Also, the children are not left out in the flow. Now, the issue here is with the influx of contents on these social media platforms on a daily basis, how do they distinguish what is right and wrong. Hmmm…That is a big one right? I thought I could share these tips as a guide to parents and guardians so as to be alert to what kids are up to and how we can help crop their excesses.

  • Let’s educate them on the usefulness of social media as well as its impacts on the long run.
  • Monitor their activities on social media.
  • Be friends with them on social media. By doing so, it will help you correct any negative activities you find on their timelines.
  • Explain the dangers of negative activities on social media. Thus explaining the effects it will have on them in future.
  • Control and regulate their acts and duration on social media.

Remember children are innocent and as such, they do not have the mental capabilities to distinguish what is right from wrong. Even if they can tell the right from the wrong, to what extent can be what they consider right?

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