Separating treasures from trash

November 07, 2013

With reference to a recent letter (“Internet, sex addiction deserves attention, too”, Nov 7), the truth of the matter is that with an increasing “high-tech, low-touch” society, it is possible that our children can become experts in navigating social networking sites and text messaging but are ill-equipped in face-to-face interactions with people. We must recognize that we are unable to completely protect our tech-savvy children from unsuitable images that are liberally available in our media-soaked society. More importantly, we must equip them to separate the treasures from the trash.

First, let’s make time to explore the natural world with our children. The issue isn’t just what kids are watching and listening to. It is also what they are missing out on while watching or listening to media. Expose them to different outdoor activities and hobbies and get involved with them too. In fact, having a loving relationship with our children is one of the best ways to teach them about having healthy relationships with others.

Second, let’s take up the mantle to give our children a healthy view of sex, love and relationships. This is a hard topic for some parents to approach with their children. However, if they do not hear it from you, they will hear it from a multitude of sources that may not have their best interests at heart.  The Ministry of Social and Family Development’s FamilyMatters@Community and the Health Promotion Board offer a variety of programs and resources aimed at helping parents talk to their children about sex. As parents, we can be equipped with the skills to engage our children, and be empowered to coach them.

Thirdly, we need to draw age-appropriate boundaries and limits on media usage for our children and at the same time, teach our children values and principles; these will undergird knowledge and behaviour so that when they are older, they can make wise decisions themselves.

By being involved parents who actively engage in our children’s lives, including how they use the media, we can teach them to be discerning individuals, separating the treasures from the trash.

Agnes Goh
Parenting Specialist
Focus on the Family Singapore
www.family.org.sg

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