Online Families

How do children cope with growing up in an online environment?

Opinion piece by Valley Lizard

Growing up goes hand and hand with technology. Our current technology allows us to connect with each other all over the world. This means despite current social distancing measures we can stay connected. It also means images can be shared almost instantly to almost anyone. Adults are responsible for their own images and consent, our children are less fortunate.

Depending on where you live legal adult age/s can vary. Specific websites each specify their own definition of “adult”. Privacy also depends on what app/s or social media site/s you’re using.

While all these policies, codes and laws are in place to protect people, including children, it is common to lie on social media. In my personal experience most common lies include age and relationship status.

Growing up I have noticed not only adults lying on social media, but children too. Kids want to be like the people they admire. This includes their parents, friends and celebrities. If someone they admire has YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram etc. it’s understandable they want to have the same social media as their idol.

One positive of modern social media is when the whole family gets involved. When this happens parents can monitor what occurs online.

The Crosby’s are one of my favourite online families. They demonstrate how an entire family can work together to create online content. Working with Lemons is another one of my favourites.

Having your family online for the world to see can have it’s ups and downs, sometimes even literally.

I’m writing this in 2020, making it easy to look back 10 or even 20 years to see how people, for example celebrities, coped with the development of the internet.

Take Katy Perry for example whose music career spans more than 20 years. During this time she has traveled the world meeting fans, including other singers.

The online world has created many online communities, which interact in a variety of ways. This is a great way to find people who have common interests.

With new technologies came new ways to tear each other down. Hence the emergence of cyber bullying.

According to the internet the apocalypse has begun, but things online can be transformed – mutated if you will. The technology is often blamed for what happens to children online, however if children were more respected online by adults there would less concern. I also believe when parents, children and teachers work towards a common understanding then it would be easier to combat cyber bullying.

Of course children aren’t the only victims of cyberbullies. Celebrities also get bullied online and offline. Rebel Wilson’s defamation battle at court is a good example which I’ll delve deeper into in the coming months.

While media law and ethics tends to be very complicated know you have just as much right to be respected online as you would in person. Despite the famous saying words can break more than bones, they can damage your whole career.

Let me know it you think this was useful. I’m always keen to hear feedback, even negative feedback.

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