Involvement Over Limitation
Parents have been taught to believe that social media is toxic and detrimental to a child’s development. Rarely are they educated on the impactful ways social media can strengthen parent-child relationships when parents take the time to become involved. The allowance of online freedom partnered with active parent involvement can result in the development of long-term, healthy digital habits for children. Limiting a child’s online access often leads to sneaky, defiant, and deviant behavior, undermining the goal of strengthening the parent-child relationship. Setting screen time limits and blocking sites are not realistic solutions to the problems children are facing online. Five minutes of a child reading hateful comments has a drastically different effect on their mental health than five hours of them watching their favorite YouTuber.
Children need a parent’s guidance to teach them how to post, engage and interact in a way that represents them in a positive light and leaves them feeling confident and inspired. Allowing online freedom provides parents with the opportunity to teach children on and offline social skills, the importance of a positive online reputation, and how negative online situations can be used as a learning opportunity for improving future online responsibility. A parent must take responsibility for teaching their child to make intentional, conscientious decisions online to avoid the potential consequences that come with the irresponsible use of technology.
Maximize Openness Minimize Secrets
A child’s interests are constantly changing, and it can be increasingly difficult for parents to keep up. With social media consuming such a large portion of childrens’ lives, many of these interests are reflected in their online activity. There are tools available to help parents such as Cyber Dive’s monitoring platform that allows parents to have a clear understanding of what their child is searching the internet for, who they are interacting with, the accounts they are following, the content they are posting, and more. For example, a parent could learn that their child is showing an interest in makeup because lately, they have been following beauty influencer accounts. A child will become more comfortable opening up about their interests once they know that their parent is actively involved in this part of their life. This encourages more honest conversations around hobbies they want to pursue and goals they have for themselves.
Initiate Tough Conversations
Parents are often optimistic about their child’s online activity but may be unaware of the true blind spots that are affecting their child. Cyber Dive’s platform can be utilized as a parenting tool by bridging the gap between what a parent thinks their child is doing online versus the reality of the child’s experience. The insight into the child’s online activity is provided as a resource for parents to use when initiating important kitchen table conversations with their children. Conversations about topics like mental health, exploring one’s sexuality, bullying, and suicide are crucial to having a healthy parent-child relationship. It is more than likely that a child will come across content that makes them feel uncomfortable or brings up questions they did not have before. This is where a parent can step in and be a resource and support system for their child. By having this involvement parents will be able to leverage a child’s social media activity to strengthen their relationship.
Cyber Dive Co-Founders Jeff Gottfurcht (CEO) and Derek Jackson (CTO) came together in 2019 to find a progressive solution to a modern problem. Mount Everest Summiteer Jeff Gottfurcht spent fourteen years on Wall Street as a Senior Vice President for two leading global financial firms. Derek Jackson is an ex-military intelligence officer whose work focused on the social media activity of U.S. adversaries and radical insurgents. Together, they have taken their individual experiences and levels of expertise to launch their company, Cyber Dive. Cyber Dive is a tech startup designed for parents that are interested in leveraging social media as a tool to build stronger relationships with their children. Cyber Dive’s proprietary software was built by in-house engineers with the purpose of presenting a child’s online data to their parents in a simple and unbiased manner. Presenting data in a neutral way widens the target audience of parents by eliminating the relevance of parenting styles. Cyber Dive encourages the progression of the digital age by not providing restrictive features on the child’s social media accounts. The company’s mission is to encourage the development of healthy online habits while bridging the digital gap between parents and children.