How to keep your child safe while on the internet
Posted by Strategic Communications, JGI Group on 22 September 2017

child safe while on the internet - JHS

The digital world of today offers a huge ocean of possibilities, access to information and networking for people all over the world. The internet intricately links each and every human with an invisible thread to form an online global village, a community. Adults and children both benefit from the potential of information technology. The possibilities are endless; however, every boon if mishandled can cause unthinkable damage in no time.

Children, teenagers and young adults are constantly connected, updated and informed virtually either through their smartphones, laptop or tabs. With one click of the mouse, the internet gives access to thousands of websites, both helpful and harmful. Access to the internet is much easier and faster than what it was 20 years ago and children as young as five or six know how to open sites without any adult supervision.

- Children in schools and homes must be made aware of the safe usage of the internet, otherwise they might fall prey to illegal activity, abuse such as cyberbullying, fraud or something more fatal. It is essential for parents and schools to spread awareness of the internet safety norms so that children are able to explore online with a more careful attitude.

In the wake of recent events, youths have been easy targets for cyber bullies who feed on the fear of vulnerable youths. Millennials of today may seem smart and mature but they still remain vulnerable and may give into peer pressure. Therefore, schools and parents need to promote a safe learning environment in order to discourage students from harming themselves.

Schools have adopted certain preventive measures to avoid any illegal activity through IT enable devices in the school as issued by the recent CBSE circular for cyber security.

The primary focus revolves in educating children about the safe and an effective use of the internet. It is necessary to allow children access to sites relevant to their age group and educational requirement.
Schools need to install firewalls, filtering and monitoring software mechanisms in all the computers and regularly evaluate filtering and blocking policies and measures. They must also block various types of unwanted contents available on the internet.

Parents must be sensitized about the internet safety norms and must use parental control filters. Although it is not possible to be a “helicopter parent”, constantly hovering around your child 24/7 and monitoring their each and every movement but parents can form a trust bond with their child so that they are in their day-to-day loop.

Parents need to understand access given to websites must be age specific.

Young children of the age 2 to 7 years can explore various activities online only with the parent. For children from 7 to 10 years, children start seeking a bit of independence from parents. Although children can be encouraged to do a bit of exploring on their own, parents must consider putting the computer in a family area or kitchen area, somewhere within the parent’s presence. Also important to note is to allow children only a specific time or a specific day (weekend) to play games on the computer, as minimal as possible.

For children from 10 to 12 years which is the pre-teen period, the internet can be used as an educational resource which helps them with school work. They start forming their own values based on their peers. It is important for them to understand that not everything they see on the internet is true or valuable.

For children aged 12 to 17 years they seek independence from their parents as well as guidance. It is important for parents and their child to build a trust bond where the parents are informed about their child’s online presence. This is also the time when a child engages in online chat and a parent must take precautionary measures to inform the child never to provide personal information or photographs to people online. Young children in their teens are changing physically, mentally and emotionally so this is a crucial phase for them to explore sexual topics. Parents can install monitoring software and internet filters. But more importantly, they should be honest with each other when it comes to sensitive topics.


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