The Internet is becoming part of everything we and our children do. Every product seems to be ‘internet connected’ including fridges and televisions. There are the game machines, both portable and in the lounge room, phones and of course the computer, notebook and even iPad devices.
Children now grow up with these devices using them with dexterity and an understanding that is both amazing and a little frightening. The internet has many positive things that are available and can be used but there are also dangers from both outside sources and from things that our children do on the internet that may end up associated with them for the rest of their lives.
The Internet Never Forgets
While we all remember the old saying that ‘an elephant never forgets’ the internet has it all over an elephant in its ability to keep information. There are sites like ‘way back when’ that purposefully try to keep snapshots of intern sites so that they can be looked at in the future. It is important that you teach your children that anything that they place on the internet may end up being permanently accessible basically forever.
When you explain that every word, picture and video could be copied and used by others in ways that might reflect on them badly and that you would like them to always stop before they hit the send button and think whether they really want to send what they are sending. This can small break to think can see a lot things not sent or modified before they are sent.
Monitoring Your Child
It is impossible to monitor your child all the time. Older children that may be actively trying to hide their activities are even more difficult to monitor. There are two ways that you can try to combat this. You can explain why you want them to be safe when they use the internet and visit social media sites and make it a rule that they be in open area that you can easily look in on regularly when they are using the internet. This uses on open trusting method that relies on both explaining why they need to be careful and also supervising them gently so that they are not tempted to act inappropriately.
The alternative is to use technology that logs access to the internet and what was sent to and from social media accounts, chat screens and emails. This sort of software is available for computers, notebooks, pad devices and smart phones. There are some tools that are free and some that have associated charges.
Different groups have different opinions about both approaches and they both have positives and negatives. The choice is an individual one and may come down to circumstances. People might see using monitoring programs as being way too intrusive while others see the dangers that are on the internet, in chat rooms and on social media as so much of a problem that either completely limiting access or using monitoring to check on what is being done are the only alternatives.
Engagement and Understanding
It is important that you engage with their internet use and learn how to use the internet and the sites that they frequent. Social media is the one of the areas that your children use to chat to each other and learning how popular sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube work will allow you to better supervise their activities. Joining the sites that your children frequent is also a great idea it lets you interact with them and also allows you to see what they and their friends talk about.
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