In May, Tender and members of our Youth Board which was me and Kaleya were asked to deliver an educational session for members of UBS Bank’s Family Matters Network.
The session was for parents and carers to support young people to navigate the digital world. This means it was a chance for the parents and carers talk to young people with myself and another Youth Board member, Kaleya with for guidance about taking to young people about social media and how “to talk to children about sex and relationships”. The structure of this was a 1-hour panel discussion, where parents were able to ask questions about things they were worried about.
There were many topics Kaleya and I discussed. One of the topics the parents were worried about was giving their children a phone and social media sites like Instagram and snapchat. Some of the questions they asked were:
What age should I give my child a phone?
Should I take my child’s phone at night?
How do I talk to them about sex without making it awkward?
How do I change the setting to private on my child’s phone?
When you need help in your relationship, “did you talk to your parents or careers”?
And there were many more. They wanted to know what it felt like to have been through that phase with social media and why do we want to be on it all the time.
The advice Kaleya and I gave for parent and carers was to talk to teens and children in an informal place,and make it a discussion as this would make it less awkward. We also advised them to build a bond where their children can mention things without parents reacting badly or having a negative reaction. This is important because it helps young people feel confident to ask for help or support if they need it. We also said it can be good to watch things together like Love Island and use these to talk about many controversial topics that come up in Love Island and other dating shows. This is an easier way to talk to young people about things and this could be an opening into talking about sex and relationships. This would make it easier to talk to young people, because there are so many problematic things happening on many of these shows, for example someone add on the show saying “I cannot trust you because you’re talking to other guys” which you can use as examples to discuss this with them about what is healthy and unhealthy behaviour in relationships. This might be a good discussion because it shows the reality towards healthy relationships and what could be normalised as healthy when it is not.
I feel that it is important for parents to be informed so their children can talk to them whenever
they feel as if they’re in trouble or stressful situations. This also prevents many things from
happening because they would be able to communicate with their parents or carers. It also gives the
parents and carers reassurance because they know what their young people get up to online and
offline and what young people go through in society today, and this is how they will feel empowered
to talk to their young children.