Since COVID, My Son Is Into Social Media

17 November, 2020
Q I did not buy my son a laptop so that he does not sin into this online world. However, since covid and online education happened, I had to buy one.

As I feared, my son is now into social media and computer games with his friends. What can I do? I wish a healthy lifestyle for him.

I try being with them, yet I also work, I cannot be with him all the time. Please suggest something.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

You might consider looking for ways to educate yourself in Internet safety for parents.

Have a schedule that only allows him to use the computer for a set amount of time for leisure activities.

Discuss a time after which he must turn the PC off in the evening.

You should discuss which types of apps and games he can use and what the rules around them are.

He should have a balance between educational things for school, Islamic education and his games.

He needs to prove that he can be responsible on the laptop.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

What you face with your son has become a more common problem these days. It’s nearly impossible for children to receive an education without the use of a laptop or computer.

However, with this comes the challenges that most parents dread. That is, what other activities their child gets up to online.

We hear all kinds of horror stories about the times when things have gone wrong which will naturally cause us to have anxieties about our own children’s Internet usage.

You may well have had Internet back in your childhood and were possibly quite competent in navigating your way around, yet your parents were probably clueless.

Since COVID, My Son Is Into Social Media - About Islam

However, things have changed so drastically in this short space of time, and your own children are likely more competent than you when it comes to computers and the Internet.

Internet Safety for Parents

With this in mind, you might consider looking for ways to educate yourself on Internet safety for parents.

Your child’s school may have run sessions for parents previously, or otherwise may know where to point you to get further information.

Alternatively, you can make a simple search online to increase your knowledge on the topic.

Beyond this, there are many ways you can work together collaboratively to ensure that he is kept safe.

Make it a collaborative effort between you and arrive at a middle ground that satisfies all parties.

Establish Rules

This might begin by establishing some ground rules.

Have a schedule that only allows him to use the computer for a set amount of time for leisure activities and that this can only be after academic tasks are completed.

Also, have a time after which he must turn it off in the evening.

You should discuss which types of apps and games he can use and what the rules around them are. These are all things to discuss together.

If you do these things together, then feeling a part of the decision making process is more likely to encourage him to adhere to the rules.

Allow him to put his own thoughts across and be able to get some elements of what he wants. However, of course, in such a way that you are comfortable with.

This is why you should discuss rules together beforehand. He needs to get the opportunity to be a part of this so that he does not feel curious about what you are holding back from him.  

Getting this balance that satisfies both parties will, in sha Allah, satisfy both of you.

Aside from this element of balance, you should also discuss the balance in things that he is engaged in on the laptop. He should have a balance between educational things for school, Islamic education and his games.

Responsibility

Once you have the rules in place, he needs to prove that he can be responsible on the laptop. Again, this is something that you can discuss together in terms of what will be a fair consequence if he should breach the rules.

This way, he knows that if he does not adhere to rules, he gets a punishment. (Not physical, of course, but maybe denying something he likes doing.)

You might want to start with a more controlling attitude. You can have a shared password to the computer so that you have the chance to check in on his activities at any time.

Another thing to do is to keep the laptop in a shared space in the house where he is conscious that you can see.

This will reassure you, but also protect him from breaking the rules.

May Allah guide you both and protect him from harm. May Allah reward your concern to nurture your son in the best way.

 Salam,


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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)