The healthy development of children in their early years plays a critical role in providing building blocks for economic productivity, educational achievement, social skills, responsible citizenship, and other elements. In the wake of the rapidly developing technology and the emergence of the internet, it is important to equip the preteens and students at high school with the skills that will be vital in enabling them to sail through the challenges associated with such developments. Numerous approaches are critical in enabling the identified class of children to embrace accountability and responsibility at home and school regarding social media, academics, and social skills.

Teaching responsibility and accountability with self-motivation in regards to social media

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The development of technology has taken the globe by storm, including the popular rise of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Before even children reach preteen, teenage, or even adolescent, it is surprising how they learn to use iPads and mobile phones before learning how to write or read. Such development shows the magnitude of how technology has penetrated the daily life of children. Exposure to social media subjects children to possible exposure to inappropriate content and cyberbullying (Hammersley et al., 2019). The best way to address any problems that emanate from this is to teach preteen and even high school students how to circumnavigate through challenges presented in social media. There are various ways in which preteens and high school students can manage conflicts while embracing accountability and responsibility from social media.

Education about information privacy and its importance

Social media is not one of the places that can be termed as being safe. On the contrary, it is a platform dominated by many negative elements that could be harmful to children without prior knowledge on managing such threats. The children should understand that privacy goes beyond putting settings of either “public” or “friend.” The issue of privacy goes to other aspects as elements such as putting on a GPS locator, accessing porn sites, and providing information such as emails in exchange for free Wi-Fi (Hammersley et al., 2019). Nobody can be certain about what will happen to the digital footprint, thus encouraging adherence to privacy control mechanisms.

Another element of privacy relates to advertisements that pop up when a person is browsing where a person is lured to click certain links to win gifts such as free iPhones. Essentially, even adults could be enticed into such traps, potentially impacting their privacy. Being responsible and accountable in social media entails understanding such elements. Considering the age of preteens and those in high school, discussing matters concerning sex is also dangerous (Hogan & Strasburger, 2018). Multiple sex predators use social media platforms to lure innocent and naïve individuals. Talking to sexual offenders through the internet increases the likelihood of meeting them in person.

Emphasis on consequences that emanate from online actions

Any social media activities are subjected to scrutiny by virtually the entire world. While one may find fun in posting all sorts of actions, such actions may be costly, and one may be required to account for their actions in the future. Consider a scenario where one posts inappropriate content on their social media platforms and later disqualifies them from getting employment after a potential employer sees the inappropriate stuff. Therefore, people must verify what they post on social media, ranging from aspects such as the language used, videos, and pictures (Hogan & Strasburger, 2018). Once such things enter cyberspace, they may stay forever there and come later to haunt the individuals who posted them unconsciously. As part of taking safety measures, parents need to observe the activities of their children online.

Remaining polite online is another element to consider in the social media world.

In real life, children from preteen and teenage may be exhibiting the expected manners and values of real life. However, there is a need to also extend the values in social media. Courtesy and politeness should also be exhibited in the virtual world, as shown online. This concept is also relevant when sharing certain information through social media platforms. Sharing certain information about their family, friends, or themselves could be inappropriate (Hammersley et al., 2019). Politeness is an element that makes a person a responsible citizen. Later, any deviant actions on social media could also affect an individual’s life.

Adult supervision should be considered.

Primarily, the parent must guide their children on becoming responsible children, which should be both in virtual and real life. Social media is a place that could be harmful to a child if not regulated. While emphasizing the importance of privacy, parents need to be informed of their children’s online activities (Hogan & Strasburger, 2018). This does not, however, mean that parents should stalk their children. On the contrary, the parents should ease their checking and regulations when children show the expected behavior in the social media world.

Teaching responsibility and accountability with self-motivation in regards to academics

Teaching the students to be responsible and accountable is a critical element that influences their academic success facilitates the building of strong character that shapes the success of their entire life. Multiple factors determine the child’s academic success, which impacts the child’s performance at school. It may become an element that alters a child’s life when a child discovers that by choosing and directing behavior responsibly, they are likely to determine the outcomes of their situation (Miele & Scholer, 2017). At preteen age or teenage, some elements can be applied to enable individuals to embrace responsibility and accountability with self-motivation both at home and school when pursuing academic success.

As parents and teachers, it is important to avoid subtle yet damaging messages created by excuses.

There are instances where the parents or teachers fail to hold the students accountable and make excuses because they think handling some household chores or handing a project on time is too hard for them. Engaging in such practices sends a message that could damage the children. For instance, it creates an impression that parents or teachers consider children not capable, trusted, and weaker than their peers, where someone has to do something for them to consider it better. The students end up thinking that their success is tied to someone else with more power and who is less likely to face challenges, and who will make excuses on their behalf (Miele & Scholer, 2017). In particular, many parents take this route which may seem powerful but very detrimental to how children view themselves. Any child receiving low expectations about themselves rarely feels valued or capable of themselves. This is where the professors receive a call from a parent of a 20-year-old son or daughter explaining why the loving child failed to submit an assignment issued two months ago. These are some areas where the parents need to work on ensuring the academic success of their preteens and those in high school or even higher levels of learning.

Children should learn and perfect the art of monitoring their progress.

When the students monitor their progress, they have learned about setting their goals and identifying mechanisms of measuring the outcomes and process of achieving the goals. The motivation is drawn when the students identify their goals compared to their admirations. Self-monitoring of progress is an important life skill that a person may possess. In many cases, only the teachers monitor how the students are performing. Recently, learning has been geared towards what is referred to as student-centered learning, thus forming the basis of learning (Miele & Scholer, 2017). Based on the students’ interests, the student’s academic interests can be incorporated into the learning or education structure. Consequently, the students can be confident in undertaking measures that will ensure they monitor the progress based on what they have set to achieve.

Parents should demonstrate, provide instructions and encouragement.

The parents should be role models to their children. The parents should be keen in instructing, demonstrating, encouraging, and allowing their children to be responsible for their actions and accountable for the outcomes, failures, and success. Ensuring students are responsible and accountable is critical to ensure children are imparted with skills from a young age. The process begins with parents teaching their children life skills and demonstrating trust by issuing the students with responsibilities that will gradually increase (Won & Yu, 2018). Progressively, increasing responsibilities to the children become critical in building confidence and pride while at the same time growing their independence.

Teaching responsibility and accountability with self-motivation in regards to social skills

One of the frustrating things is watching children, either at the preteen or teenage, struggle to make friends or encounter challenges of trying to fit into certain social settings. Appropriate social skills are critical in enabling the children to enjoy good peer relations. The benefits of proper social skills go beyond mere social acceptance. Social skills can be particularly important to preteens and can be learned and strengthened (Perry et al., 2018). Numerous approaches can be adapted to enable the target students to be responsible and accountable when gaining social skills.

Allowing individuals to participate and follow their interests

Gaining social skills and enjoying the company of others becomes natural when a child is engaging in things that are interesting to him or her. When children participate in things like playing instruments, engaging in sports, or other activities of their interests, it is the first step towards building social skills. This element puts the children in a situation where they interact with like-minded individuals, thus making them at ease to socialize (Perry et al., 2018). It is critical for a child to also socialize with others having different interests. However, starting at the point where they interact with those sharing similarities is one of the excellent ways to provide the basis for learning social skills.

Focusing on learning empathy

Empathy focuses on learning and understanding how others feel in certain situations. When individuals learn to understand and accommodate the feelings of others, they are more likely to establish a connection with others while establishing strong bonds (Dollar et al., 2018). Individuals can learn empathy while in different scenarios and situations. Part of learning empathy is active listening to others while focusing on digesting and processing what the speaker was saying after the conversation. Social skills are built on the ability to understand things from the perspective of others within certain social settings.

From parents’ perspective, being a role model is another way of imparting social skills

At an early age, a child cannot learn basic social skills such as uttering words like “please” or “thank you” if the parent is not saying such words. While interacting with others, it is important to be cautious on how one approaches the matter when the children are watching. The children tend to watch the behavior of the adults and try to imitate them. Social skills are not learned instantly. Individuals can develop social skills and be improved throughout their entire lifetime.

In conclusion, it is important to provide the students at their early stages of development with critical skills that will enable them to lead meaningful lives. While skills may not be learned instantly, it is important to reinforce the skills gradually as children continue to grow. The paper focused on numerous approaches that can be applied in making preteens and high school students that will enable them to learn effectively while growing.


About the Author:

Alyssa Arias

I am a Bilingual Marriage Family Therapist who currently works as a Guidance Counselor in a Catholic school. With my clinical skills and commitment to serving at-risk populations, I believe I am a strong addition to service children, families, and individuals with their needs.

During my professional work, I have worked as a case manager with the foster care population, homeless, bipolar, and schizophrenic demographic by providing group therapy and developing individual treatment plans. I have work providing counseling to children and adolescents with the necessary tools to overcome trauma, anxiety or behavioral issues. I have worked with families and couples to create sucess within their family dynamic. I am comfortable utilized therapeutic interventions such as Solution Focused Theory, Structural Family Therapy, and Narrative perspective.

I have experience serving various populations. This has prepared me to be a culturally aware clinician and to understand the complex needs of vulnerable individuals and families. With my, experience I was able to learn about the achievement gap which affects racial and socioeconomic minorities. I believe with my academic background, and professional experience, and being a Latina raised in the Bronx, has assisted me break generational traumas and provide the tools to families to be successful in their family dynamic with realistic coping skills.