By Martha Ramos
MEXICO: I have a teenage daugther. Of course, she feels she is invincible. She doesn’t need mom’s protection any more; she can make the world spin around.
I, on the other hand, look around in search for answers to my many questions: What should I do? How do I handle her new freedom to protect her from any risk?
Weeell, for instance drugs, corruption, violence in the streets, not so trustworthy police force, sex, abuse, alcohol, bad friends, anorexia, over eating, bullying…
Was it the same when I was a teenager?
Not really. Maybe everything was out there, without a specific name. Maybe the risk wasn’t that big. But then again what our fathers did to protect us then seems nowadays naive.
So, again, what to do?
Can I keep my girl in a big bubble? Of course not. She walks in the streets and meets new people every day. She is on Facebook and lives a normal teenage life.
I’ve been talking with teachers and other moms about this, and suddenly it hit me: Everything can be summarized in one magic word — information.
The knowledge about the internet, for example, is so irregular among teachers, almost nonexistent with parents, yet completely integrated into teenagers’ daily lives.
It’s this irregular connection with the web that creates a risk in itself.
Yes, of course, the level of developement of a country can be measured by how many people have access to the Internet, but that’s just a number. The real revolution (intellectual, mostly, but also in terms of a strong, unified, demanding society) is to know how to use the wonderful tool that is the Internet.
Teenagers need to know how to protect themselves once they are on the web. Teachers need to know sites that can help them and their students as didactic tools, and parents need to know how to handle it.
It is so important, it should be mandatory — by law.
There are a few good examples of what we should be doing. For example, the Mexican Ministry of Education and the Social Media Club Mexico offer ideas and suggestions on how to keep children safe and maximize use of the Internet.
Let’s give access to the Internet to each and everyone in this world, yes, and then let’s teach them about what they can do, learn, make, experience, enjoy, discover and exchange via the web.
It’s time to go to the next level of civilization!
Learn more about Martha:
I’m Martha Ramos, born 43 years ago, a journalist during the last 24 years and a mother since 1998.
I believe in the power of friendship, and the wisdom of children. I defend women as a basic element in every society, every group, every family.
I recognize journalism as the most important tool of a democratic country and the imperfect way of getting to the truth. Now, in the era of journalism 2.0 and 3.0 I really thank you for the possibility of talking to you and hearing from you.