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Moms advised on how to parent screenagers in the digital age of social media

KILLARNEY – Parents were advised by director at the Digital Law Company Sarah Hoffman about how they should control their children's social media useage.


About 20 parents learned more about parenting teenagers in the age of social media at a high tea at La Vie en Rose at Killarney Country Club in aid of the Sandton SPCA on 26 September.

The educational officer at the Sandton SPCA Wilna Lamb said that since social media plays such an important role in society, the SPCA sought to educate parents about how to control their children’s use of digital platforms.

General manager of the Sandton SPCA Ralph Hohls said that he was disappointed about the attendance at the event as it only made enough money to cover costs.

General manager of the Sandton SPCA Ralph Hohls stands alongside educational officer at the Sandton SPCA Wilna Lamb. Photo: Sarah Koning

“We need more support to generate much-needed funds than we got today. As the SPCA, we are totally reliant on donations. We require R6.5 million per year to cover the costs at the SPCA.”

Director and speaker at the Digital Law Company Sarah Hoffman addressed parents concerning the challenging and overwhelming space they find themselves in.

“You can’t give your child free reign to roam the internet. Kids’ brains are not designed to cope with the content that they are exposed to on social media. Leaving a child to their own devices on social media is negligent,” said Hoffman.

She explained that the Internet and social media is an international, permanent and public platform. “What we put on social media is equivalent to what we put on a billboard or the front page of a newspaper. We have to be careful.”

Director and speaker of the Digital Law Company Sarah Hoffman discusses the dangers of giving small children too much screen time. Photo: Sarah Koning

Hoffman explained that every rule and law that applies to people in public still remains on social media platforms.

“Your online reputation is as important as what is on your CV. It becomes your digital CV.”

She advised parents of young children to limit their time in front of screens and recommended that parents of teenagers to give their children contracts with rules when they give them a cell phone.

She also explained the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying and the emotional, psychological and reputational consequences this can have on children.

Kathy Raffray and Sunita Bhoola look forward to the talk about parenting teenagers in the age of social media. Photo: Sarah Koning

Hoffman recommended that parents monitor their children’s use of social media including Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, among others.

Shamim Bhyat Bhikhoo and Zeenat Bhikhoo enjoy a cup of coffee together at the event in aid of the Sandton SPCA. Photo: Sarah Koning

Hohls said, “While today’s event is not animal-related, we thought it was important since it is a topical matter which we believe is important for our community. Healthy animals need healthy communities.”

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