Different experts tell us, from different sides, that the best choice in this case, when there are minors in the family, is that of “responsible trust.” This means the commitment of parents to negotiate with their children the trust they can give them when they are struggling with new technologies. As parents it is indispensable to have the possibility to participate in, and to know what is written on their Facebook accounts or on the other widely spread social media tools their kids use, and to know the friends with whom they are connected.
The Facebook page or social media content should be something everyone in the family can easily view. The choice of non-secrecy, reiterate the experts, summarizes the best negotiated compromise between the needs of trust, which children have the right to demand from parents in accessing these new media, and the equally essential need for transparency and sincerity that the children must be able
to guarantee to their parents in the development of their virtual relationships. Decisions toward non-secrecy or transparency must be an educational choice for parents to promote in the family with serenity, competence and constancy.
In a context of “responsible trust,” it will be much easier, if parents need to intervene directly. The important thing will then be to motivate their kids so that they can monitor themselves. We should all shoulder our responsibilities, as parents and educators: if it were necessary we have to do this also by reading what the children write, motivating our decisions, with the same transparency and clarity as that which we ask them. They may get angry, but they certainly will not think that their parents are being false, wary or indifferent to their education.
Maria Rosa Pagliari