Re-framing Locker Room Narratives: Through a Parent’s Lens

I’d like to believe that I live in a progressive generation, and as parents we treat all genders equally. However, as the Bois Locker Room fracas clearly revealed, we have not been able to create the familial and societal ecosystem required to man-oeuvre in the online world.In the current context, the traditional parental challenge over generations about ‘How hard parenting is’ has taken a new and extreme meaning. The socio-cultural trends that stuck for years together, are now perhaps digitally reinvented on a daily basis.

The Problem

Whether it is work, or leisure, we have simply become enslaved to our screens and divorced from ‘in the flesh’communication. In an environment fraught with deadlines, distractions and shrinking attention spans, the multi-tasking realm we’ve bargained for ourselves, has reduced parent-child interactions from a ‘have to do’ to a ‘good to do’ basis. It is no surprise then, that hormonal teenagers with no rudder to map their feelings, would experiment with any kind of peer-induced behavior they think is ‘normal’ and helps them “fit in”.

The Challenge

We need to first acknowledge that we’ve given our children gadgets with unlimited access without the necessary discussions about choices and consequences- let alone of sex and sexuality- which are a pivotal part of growing up. Many of us have inadvertently substituted the pursuit of affluence and consumerism  for values and solid relationships.The time we should spend knowing and growing as a family has been compromised severely.

Way Forward

With social media gaining a larger ground and offering no reliable rule book, the complexities and challenges will multiply in a post COVID world.

Developing an inclusive outlook is a learning journey in and of itself. Awareness and understanding of the root cause- our patriarchal mindset, will help us shoot down, through effort and practice, the new derived forms it finds itself in. Some are fortunate to have early experiences and consider gender equality as a given. For many, it remains a work-in-progress.

The reinforcement of external explanations of basic human rights in domestic spaces must be added to our daily doses of vitamin supplements. This is the only sustainable way for our society to adopt better guidelines which will clearly define and respect boundaries for our behavior online.

While official regulations will take time to evolve, it is critical to remind ourselves that  this generation in the next 5-7 years will enter the workforce.They will have to deal with other codes of power play, including an expanding understanding of (any but especially sexual) harassment at work. As responsible parents, professionals and leaders, what standards of decency and conduct do we want our children to set for themselves and their world?

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