Digi-Parenting my way

(Cross-posted from Room of my own)

I am a mother to a cute 1 year 8 month old baby girl. I am learning and unlearning several things each day with her. I have the privilege of waking up to her smiles each new day so that I can safely say that I get to relive my childhood with her! Having said that, I would want her to enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood, just as our generation did. I know she is too small to get into that stage but I wish that as she grows up, she too gets to enjoy life outside the four walls of a 2 BHK flat. Why not pave the way from now itself?! I still remember the time when we as youngsters used to enjoy the simple pleasures of life – the joy of running around the nearby lanes, climbing trees with cousins in our ancestral home, running and cycling around with friends without being gender conscious (yes, I had lots of boyfriends too), playing police and thief, catch-me-if-you-can, kabadi and lots more such outdoor games are all evaporating gradually…I wish I could bring those back for my daughter! As a mother (especially of a daughter), I am worried about the ongoing rape and molestation cases that are plaguing the society every day. I often wonder can’t we have an app that will give out an alert signal when our daughters fall prey to molesters so that we can take some quick action? The way crime is increasing in our society, all parents are naturally concerned about the safety of their children and wants maximum security both in school and outside. So in the process, we tend to snatch away their childhood, pose restrictions on them, trim their wings so that they cannot fly like free birds. This is where the arrival of digital media thrives on to become part and parcel of our everyday life especially in the life of our children. It can be a boon as well as curse at the same time in their development. For instance, I bask in happiness when my little daughter interacts with her grand patents back in Kolkata, my hometown. What’s more gratifying is to see the face of her grandparents lit up when they see their granddaughter in Skype. Technology has bridged the gap between the two generations, you see! As a daughter, I also pride myself in successfully teaching my dad the likes of Facebook and Skype so that we can stay connected. My toddler loves to see her nursery rhymes in You Tube. O wait, why not?! It allows me to complete my work in the kitchen and also to feed her well…so each time she says, “Maa, gaan chalao” (Maa, play songs), I very happily play her favourite songs in You Tube. But deep down in my heart, I also fear that technology in today’s digital age should not mar her innocence. I am aware of the huge role I have to play as a parent to protect her from the dangers that lurks in the virtual world. I think that’s where eKavach can help me with its news, views, tips, resources etc. As my daughter grows up, I hope to be her friend as well. I want to make her understand that everything has a good and bad side to it. I would not mind her addiction to the digital media provided she respects the limits that will be set for her. After all, you have to be within the system to change the system, for good! I want her to know that it is okay for mom to keep a tab on her activity log upon fear of inviting unnecessary attraction from paedophiles. I am also aware that I may not be able to hold the reins over her for long and she might slip away from my controls once she reaches her teenage years…but by then I want to imbibe a strong sense of balanced use of the digital-tech world in her. Neither she should shun them nor should she allow herself to be swept away by the digital wave. She should embrace the best of both the worlds, if she wants to enjoy her life in totality. This post is written as part of the Women’s Web – eKavach ‘This Digi-Parenting Life!’ campaign (http://www.yourekavach.com/ ).