Thanks to the birth and subsequent growth of information technology, particularly the Internet, millions of people from all over the world have access to each other. Chat rooms, social networking sites, and various internet forums make this connection a virtual reality. Unfortunately, there is a bad side to all the wonders that the Internet showcases. One of these negatives is that children are exposed to various dangers which are very difficult to control.
You can’t blame children for wanting to use the Internet for their own satisfaction. As it is often said (which is true), children copy adults around them, especially those that they look up to as role models – including their own parents. As such, when the kids see parents or their role models on TV playing with computers and the Internet, their curiosity is quickly aroused and they want to copy what these role models do. When they get a hold of the Internet, it is very difficult for them to look back.
One solution to this problem of constant exposure to the Internet’s dangers is for the parents to regulate the Internet access of their children. Microsoft Windows has various user accounts in which a child can be included. All the administrator has to do is to limit the web sites that the selected user can access, and around half of the danger is already eliminated as a result of this. All it takes is a little computer knowledge from the parent.
Another way is the Internet security feature usually found within the Internet options in Windows. If a web site is accidentally visited and it contains explicit material that isn’t suitable for children, a warning is displayed. This feature can be adjusted accordingly, from high security to low, with custom settings a possibility as well.
However, these measures are only half of the overall solution to the overall problem. It is very easy to say that this can be avoided if you, as a parent, completely disallow your child to use computers and/or the Internet. However, you also don’t want to deprive your children of the technology that is within their generation. That is why educating your children on the dangers of the Internet is very essential – you need to teach them the benefits of using the Internet while making them aware of the potential dangers and bad things that can happen.
This is perhaps the best way – training your child. Not only will this be beneficial for them, as a parent, this is beneficial for you too. You will get close to your child, spend quality time with him/her, and share your life together during these moments. Along with that, you are teaching him/her to be responsible when using the Internet. Tell them that it is all right to surf the Internet, provided that an amount of caution must be exercised.
A common problem arises when children go into Internet chat rooms and social networking sites to interact with people who also do the same. However, there are many users out there who claim to be 15 years old, when in reality, they are around 20 years or older! These people take advantage of innocent children by pretending to be their friend, asking certain personal questions, and just giving the child confidence that they have a friend they can talk to. However, in real life, they are securing information that can be used against the child and his family.
This is one reason why teaching and training a child is important. Tell your child never to give out personal information, no matter how subtle it may be. Tell your child never to give a photo of himself or of his family and friends. It may be all right to meet new friends online, but tell your child never to go out and personally meet these so-called new friends without asking you parents to accompany him.
In extreme situations, a good solution would be to call in some help, if you don’t think you can handle it. It is ok to admit that there are certain things that can be difficult to do. Remember that it is for the protection of your child. An example is if you want to place Internet restriction but don’t know how to. It is perfectly fine to seek help.