How Safe is the Internet
As a parent you would certainly not allow your child to hop on a train or bus unaccompanied and travel into unknown territory where they could encounter unsavoury characters and be exposed to potentially harmful situations. Then it may also be safe to assume that you would not allow your child to roam cyber space unsupervised? We cannot deny that computers and the internet have become part of our everyday lives but in the same breath we as parents need to be responsible for our children’s exposure to this technological world.
As a family we are quite computer or tech orientated but as with the monitoring of TV, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are protected and aware of the potential dangers of exposing themselves to the digital world out there. I think that firstly you need to monitor the amount of time children spend on the computer and the internet, give them set parameters to adhere to and set consequences if these are not met. It is also important to encourage children to spend time outdoors, not just focused on a screen for hours on end! Most importantly, as with television, make sure that you have parental control software installed, on your home or child’s computer. Installing software like K9 Web Protection is essential and the best way to ensure your children are safe from potential online predators or exposure to unsuitable web content.
I feel that it is important to implement these measures early on, as soon as your children are computer literate. You will be amazed at how tech savvy children are, even from preschool age and just how easy it is to innocently stumble upon unsavoury content. In my mind the best policy is not to take any chances, install the necessary software and educate your children about the internet, as soon as they are old enough to understand. Making them aware of the fact that it is not safe to give out their personal details over the web.
According to stats from K9 Web Protection, one in four children have unwanted exposure to inappropriate pictures each year and nine of ten children aged 8-16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, often in the process of doing homework.
I also feel that exposure to Social networking sites, like Twitter and Facebook should be held off for as long as possible, young children are not mature enough to understand the potential threats that they may be exposed to by using these sites.
So most importantly, we as parents, need to beware of what our children are doing when it comes to internet and computer usage and keep the line of communication open at all times, so that they will feel free to ask questions at any time.