Remember when beautiful Miss SA 2020 hopeful, Bianca Schoombee had to drop out of the competition after racist tweets resurfaced on social media? In an apologetic statement, released on her Instagram, Bianca said that she has grown and learned from her teenage mistakes and hoped that South Africa can forgive her. She was only 14 years old at the time of the tweets, and probably didn’t know any better or had no parental guidance on the consequences of her action on her smartphone.
In this regard, renowned South African social media expert, Magriet Groenwald urges parents to talk to their kids about being smart with their smartphones. Magriet who is also the founder of an online Social Media Business School is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs and influencers to maximize their potential on social media.
She is also extremely concerned about the younger generation and the lack of knowledge parents have about social media resulting in their inability to guide, monitor, manage and protect their children. “Parents, we need to teach our kids to use their smartphones responsibly. Social media and the internet has almost become like a tattoo,” adding that whatever you post today could go on to haunt you ten years from now, “Once it’s out there on the internet it lives forever,” she warns.
She urges parents to talk to their kids about being smart with their phones and to always remember that the screenshot is a game-changer. “Even if you delete a post and someone has taken a screenshot of your post, you don’t have any control over it anymore,” she cautioned.
While social media and the internet has great benefits for the younger generation, Magriet says it is our responsibility as parents to guide our children in order for them to use it safely.
She recommends that parents pay attention and teach their kids to ask themselves whether the post or the content that they’re about to upload can be seen by:
- Their parents or grandparents?
- Their friends’ parents?
- Their teacher or principal?
- The police?
- Scammers or paedophiles?
- Future universities or colleges?
- Future employers?
And if they answered no to any of the above questions, then they should not post, she concluded.