Last week, my daughter (she’s 8) came to me and said, ‘I want to make a video where I teach how to floss (dance). Could you put it up online? I want to see how many Likes I get!’.
Back when we were in school, getting appreciated in front of the entire school, or in the city, during an inter-school fest was the norm. For things we did live. Or, for something we sent to a magazine/newspaper and the thrill of seeing them published.
Now, the same thing is ported online and the new currency of appreciation is Likes and followers, something that the social networks themselves are planning to hide.
What is the right age to ‘get online’ and start gathering Likes? Because, along with Likes, comes comments and some of them may not be charitable, if not downright abusive and rude, and mean. I’m sure 8 is not the best age to face abusive, rude comments from random strangers. It surely would play upon their young minds. If not for the internet, their source of abusive, rude comments is limited to school, where there is a sense of decorum enforced by the teachers.
I don’t think most schools teach children about what to do on the internet – on how to spend quality time on it, and how to deal with its problems. Or, how to make productive use of the power of social media/social networking. Even as adults, we never learn any of this formally or seriously and merely go by each others’ experience to navigate our way. But it is perhaps time schools added this into the curriculum.