Parents remain parents also in the digital world.

Parents remain parents: also in the digital world.

I was watching Avatar 2 the other day. Jack Sully, the main male character of the first movie, has four kids now, and the whole point of all his decisions throughout the film is to keep his family safe. “A father protects; it’s what gives him meaning”. Does it sound old-fashioned? It sounds human.

Parenthood is about caring, and it doesn’t stop. Parents always remain parents.

But it’s not only an everlasting task. It always has to do with space. Parents remain parents everywhere. You don’t stop being a parent the moment your kid enters your Office. In fact, your colleagues will look at you amused through a new lens, the parent one. You won’t be the untouchable boss any more.

So, parents are always parents everywhere. And ‘everywhere’ includes the digital world. Because the digital world is also a “place”. A real one. It’s not physical, but it’s not less real. And our kids need their parents there more than ever.

Our kids learn everything from us: how to eat, how to dress themselves, how to cross the street, and how to deal with strangers… We would never leave them alone in an unknown place. So why do we leave them alone on the internet? Don’t they need us? Which digital places are they visiting? Whom are they talking to?

We can’t be naive. The internet has fewer limits; it’s riskier and, therefore, more dangerous. But the solution is not stepping out from screens but extending parenting to their digital world, being there to teach, warn, and care.

Act the same way as in the physical world. Ask questions, know the places, and meet their people. Be involved. What did you play at? Who was there? Do I know them?

However, you can effectively do this if your kid doesn’t feel controlled but looked after. Trust is the pillar of education. You can’t improvise when your child has their first smartphone. You have been doing it for years, so they find it natural that their parents remain parents in the virtual world.

There is no such distinction for them. They are digital natives; for them, it’s all the same; physical or virtual, it’s all real.

We, in I am Sally, are concerned about children and cybersecurity. That’s why we started our CSR project, Sally Families. We want to put all our professional knowledge into the service of families. We will tell you more about it every week.