Friday 14 December 2018

Dear David Coleman: I despair about the way things are going with children, social media and their over-exposure to too much, too young

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David Coleman

David Coleman

Question: We didn't allow our 12-year-old son to go to a recent disco aimed at his age group. Now all the boys are talking about how many of them kissed girls. They videoed some of this and posted on their social media accounts! There was no dancing, apparently. I despair about the way things are going. As parents, we feel we are definitely swimming against the tide.

David replies: While you may feel alone in your view that, for example, this disco wasn't appropriate for his age and stage in life, I believe that there are other parents who feel similarly isolated in their views and their desire to delay the onset of social media, dating and so on. They too may feel they are swimming against a tide of social change.

If the experience of Blennerville National School in Kerry is anything to go by, when parents have a chance to speak together, about the rushed development and inappropriate expectations of their primary school age children, they do find a lot of commonality and shared concern that everything is moving too fast and children are exposed to some experiences too young.

With that shared understanding, a community response, that supports the views of the majority of parents can develop.

Like in Blennerville, there may actually be a lot of support for restricting smartphone, or social media access. With no phones, there'd be no recording of the kissing or other disco activity. Children could just remain children for a little bit longer.

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