It’s a parent’s responsibility to keep their child safe, not a corporation’s

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

In recent generations, parents have progressively relinquished the duty of parenting as a personal responsibility to outside sources like social media. These platforms come with a myriad of issues, including cyberbullying, sexting and “Facebook depression” — a form of depression that develops when preteens and teens spend an extended amount of time on social media. This raises the question of why so many parents, then, are blaming social media for their parenting difficulties.

The biggest issue I have with many modern parents is their lack of willingness to embrace their own role in their children’s development. When a parent allows their child to roam the open sea of Instagram, YouTube or TikTok with no supervision, they are condoning these platforms to show them anything at all.

What a parent does or does not allow their child to do is not my business. But what I often see is parents blaming social media platforms for what their child sees, when most large social media platforms already offer features that allow parents to customize the experience of their children. This failing falls on the parent.

Parents have constantly been provided tools to teach their children without needing to be present, starting with TV shows like “Barney & Friends” and “The Magic School Bus.” However, TV shows came with the weakness that there are only so many episodes you can show your children before you run out of content. And so, parents have turned to social media — an endless wellspring of content to keep their children engaged, entertained and happy.

The issue with this fully digital learning experience is that it’s missing one of the core components of development: human intimacy. When children are left to develop their cognitive abilities via phone, TV or computer, they do not experience the benefits of being near their parents. Technology offers convenience and efficiency, but it takes away from vital parts of the learning process.

As such, while I acknowledge that parents should take advantage of the tools provided to them, they must also be aware of the importance of being a guiding hand in their children’s lives. Life is a maze, and mazes are always easier to navigate with someone at your side.