Anyway, the first thing I saw was ‘Abeke Aina (not real name) has sent you a friend request’. I looked at the request and the photo, cleaned my eyes and looked at it again. I was surprised. Guess who sent me a friend request? Well… my friend’s 4 months old baby! So babies are now so smart that they can open social media accounts? Wawu!
Opening a social media page for little babies is getting increasingly rampant, and to be sincere, I still don’t understand why. In fact, I find it very ridiculous. It is common to find a baby’s social media page with the picture of the baby and mother/father and a caption that reads “you are the best mummy/daddy in the world and I love you”. Then the mum/dad (through their own Instagram page) will then reply “oh my baby, thank you so much, I love you”. I mean… sigh… It is very obvious that it’s the same person handling those pages, so what’s all the shenanigans for?
My friend’s baby is barely 6 months old and she has a Facebook account? Doing what with it? Can she communicate? Who’s handling the page? Why does she even have the page in the first place? I need to understand!
This isn’t the first time it is happening to me…
Recently, my neighbour’s son (who is 10 years old) sent me a friend request on Instagram and Facebook. I was shook. For crying out loud, what are you doing on Instagram at age 10? Whaaattt?
We need to go back to the olden days of parenting and childhood. Days of tenten, bojuboju and baba suwe. Days of folklore and moon light stories. As a little kid, I played! Ahh! My play earned me a long scar on my face (that made people think I’m from Maiduguri), another very long line on my thigh and few bruises. If you don’t have marks on your knees as an adult, did you even play as a kid? The fear of mentholated spirit on open wounds was the beginning of wisdom of me. Funnily enough, my mum said I wasn’t playful and I was a gentle kid. Which means that play pass play!
As a child, every evening, my mum would call my sisters and I, take us beside the plantain tree – where it is believed witches have their meetings in the wee of the night – and tell us stories. After that, she’d ask us to re-write the stories in our own ways. She’d then mark it and give us scores. It was a lot of fun while we learned how to read and write. By the time I got to secondary school, I was one of the best fiction writers in my class.
But kids of nowadays? Hmmnn…
Don’t get me wrong, the world is changing and technology is the in-thing, but have you paused to consider how this is affecting our kids? They don’t play anymore. They don’t do outdoor games and many of them are getting very socially awkward because they don’t know how to interact with people when they meet face-to-face. Children scramble to get the phones of adults at events and they stay glued to it all day.
You might want to argue that there should be proper parenting and monitoring, bla bla bla. But as a parent, how strictly do you monitor your kid’s use of technology? My neighbour’s 6 year old daughter is always glued to the phone. Always! Her 10 year old brother has a big phone, but all he does is Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, downloading games and window shopping on Jumia.
If you must buy a phone for your kids, how do you ensure that they use it for the right purposes? In fact, what does ‘right purposes’ mean to you? Can you answer that?
Don’t let me get started on what parents do with/to their kids these days. Your little daughter is having her birthday, you’ll then fix her nails, lashes, bridal makeup and full photoshoot – for a 9 year old girl. Can you just let her be a kid? A neighbour’s son, who is just 8, has relaxed hair.
Sometimes, I feel these children are being forced to grow so fast – at a pace higher than what their level of maturity can handle. I remember wanting to do certain things as a kid and my mum will laugh and say “calm down, there’s still plenty of time”. And she was right! Where are these kids rushing to?
I know the world is somewhat ‘faster’ and teenagers are doing amazing things now. But how do you differentiate between your kid being a natural genius and you just rushing them when they need to take things slow? We now have a lot of adult-looking children who barely know anything.
How do we ensure that our kids maximize their childhood?
For those of you who expect your teenage children to start fending for the family, we will shake your table soon. Stop putting pressure on your kids to be financially responsible for your needs! Let them grow, find their feet and balance well before shouldering your problems! Child-hawking also needs to be banned! Anyway, that’s a topic for another day.
So do you subscribe to the idea of opening social media accounts for your babies? Why and why not? Please share your thoughts because I really need to understand this.