Friday, January 18, 2013

Internet safety for your young children!

Few days back, my son asked me if I visited when I was at his age. I said ‘No’. He then asked me whether I visited, I again said ‘No’. I could sense that he was getting restless and was in anguish. He finally vented it out, “Which did you visit then when you were small?” It took me some time to strike the reality and when I responded to him that I didn't even have a computer or an iPad when I was small, he gave me one pity look and eventually busted out giggling. He chose to walk away before I could explain to him a world without computer. I fumbled, as I knew he would never come to terms with that world…the one without a computer or a tablet!

Whether you like it or not, Internet has become an integral part of our lives. Most parents use it to check out on news, entertainment or for being in touch with the family and friends. Hence, it’s no big deal if your child accesses internet, too as a benefit to complete the school work and assignments or simply to enjoy some on-line games. It’s a proven fact that some crooks who target children prowl on-line  encasing their innocence and candour in order to take their advantage. We take every measure to safeguard or homes from outside, yet a computer monitor is an easy way for them to sneak in your homes. One of the major concern today’s parents face is internet safety. "Kids are developing their on-line identity at an earlier age than ever before and they need parents, teachers and other role models to help them figure out where to go, what to say and how to act and perhaps most importantly how not to act," Youthologist Vanessa Van Patten said. However, there are ways and means to ensure that your children are safeguarded from these vices of the cyber world.
  • Limit on-line time. While the internet is proved to be an ultimate source of information available at the fingertips, too much time spent on-line can be harmful. Spending substantial amount of time in front of computer can create sedentary children. This can sadly contribute to childhood obesity and indolent health. Also, the more time your child spends browsing, the more likely he is to visit the sites that can compromise his safety and innocence.
  • Enforce the basic rules of cyber security. Teach your child the importance of guarding the password, not clicking on unknown links or even not opening the emails or attachments from unknown sources. Talk to them about issues like ‘Virus’, ‘Hacking’, etc.
  • Enlighten the significance of protecting private and personal information. Many websites encourage the visitors to fill out on-line forms. Hence, teach your children to seek for parental guidance and advice before filling out any such form. Make it a sure-safe rule that no information like the address and telephone numbers should be shared anywhere on the internet without the adult consent.
  • Mandate the importance of restraint while in chat rooms and social networking. Make it clear that they are not to meet up with anyone whom they meet on-line without parental approval and supervision.
  • It’s always a good idea to position the computer in a shared room where parents can keep an eye on its usage. Strictly avoid giving up to your child’s demand to place the computer in his own bedroom where you might never truly know what he or she is doing on-line.
  • Print the Internet Safety Pledges and Rules by visiting some child friendly websites that emphasis on internet safety for children. Sites like are a good place to visit with your child to help him understand the importance of cyber safety.
  • And lastly, nothing can beat the significance of educating yourself. It’s quite shocking that today’s children are more tech-savvy than their parents. However, it’s unfair to prey your children just for this fact. Figure out the ways to learn what sites they visit, strike a conversation with them about the information they gathered and eventually try to find out whether your child is using internet for the positive reasons or there’s something ‘not-so-pleasant’ that you need to deal with. Be a part of the various on-line discussion forums to seek advice and guidance from the experts or other parents. 

Internet is a great boon to mankind and if used appropriately, can help create a history!

(The above article was published in   

Pic Courtesy: Google

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