One of my favourite Indian festivals is Diwali and I have a sneaky feeling I may have mentioned this a few times earlier too. There is so much of positivity attached to this festival- say the word Diwali, or Deepawali, and smiles will light up the faces of people, just like diyas light up houses and courtyards. The excitement the term Diwali will conjure up will be as crackling as the ‘green’ firecrackers kids have already kept ready to burst after the evening prayers.
“So how does Diwali remind you of Digital Literacy?” asked my son, as he peered over my shoulders and looked into my laptop.
“Everything reminds me of digital literacy, but Diwali more so because just like we light lamps of joy to dispel the darkness of evil and sorrow, similarly we can light lamps of knowledge or ‘gyana’ to dispel the darkness of ignorance or ‘agyana’.
Parents often ask me how to start a talk on digital habits with children, how to help them turn out to be good digital citizens and so on. Actually, it’s pretty easy to start a talk and if you are worried that you are not tech-savvy enough to teach your child about digital habits, do not worry. All you need to do is continue teaching the values you teach in real life. They apply to the online world too!
Take for example, language and manners. Think back on the ways you taught your child to greet others, talk civilly and keep their cool when the situation becomes aggressive. Now add the following to your lesson – ‘when online, remember the other person can’t see you so, will not be able to decipher your body language. Hence, it’s become even more important to take care of what you say online’.
You can also teach your kids to stand up against bullies and never bully others. How? Try the age-old dictum, “treat others as you want them to treat you.” Encourage them to share their problems with you and guide them on how to tackle bullies. If you find they are participating in cyberbullying, sit them down and talk to them, just like you would if they behaved badly offline. Find out the cause of their unpleasant behavior and help them resolve issues, if any.
A very important thing to teach kids, and adults alike, is to protect their devices. Use the lock-and-key concept to explain the need for securing devices and accounts with strong passwords and 2-Factor-Authentication. You may even get your child to help them secure their devices with branded security tools. This will definitely make your child feel important, and most importantly, responsible. A responsible child uses digital tools wisely.
Stretch your reach and help your friends and relatives learn how to use parental control tools to protect and monitor their young one’s online activities. If you check your security icon on the computer or laptop, you will be able to access parental controls and learn, through some easy-to-do steps, how to set it up.
Another way to make this Diwali count is to increase the scope of joy that you usually share – bring someone you know into the digital safety circuit. Gift them online security software and shield them from online threats.
Do share your family bonding pics during Diwali—tell us how you made Diwali in your family more meaningful this year.
Happy Diwali folks!