Do you allow for unsupervised internet access for your kids? If you think your children will stay within the limits of acceptable internet browsing, what are the limits do you expect them to follow and what is “acceptable browsing” that you allow in your house? Many parents often believe that their children will only access what is needed for their homework and assignments, but children spend a better part of their time socializing and communicating too. True, internet and the social media works as a major communications tool, but the avenues that are open before your child are always endless and it is easy for them to visit websites that are not good for them.
Do you have any idea of how much time your child spends browsing the internet? Most of the time, parents everywhere in the world really does underestimate the time they think their children spend browsing the net. Studies released by the Center for Media Research have come up with the fact, that children spend an average of 20 hours a month browsing the net. In addition, out of that 23% of the kids are into online dating, 72% are into online gaming and 50% of them are registered in social networking sites. About 41% of the parents in US have absolutely no idea of how much time their children spend on the net. The dangerous part is not yet over. A good majority of those kids (especially those in the age group of 13-17) receive ‘connect/link/friend’ invitations from strangers. Even if you allow your child to play games online, be aware of the fact that there are chats and instant messaging facilities available that it would not be long before your child will be interacting with total strangers. And the shocking fact is that only one-third of the parents really do set parental controls on internet usage.
Despite the harmful effects of the internet, it is important that your child posses computer knowledge. The quality and quantity of information that can be had from the web world is beyond limits. But it is important that you set the limits for your child’s internet usage. Tell him about the dangers of getting involved with strangers. He must also:
• Reject friend requests from people whom he doesn’t know
• Encourage him to show the friend requests to you, so you know that the person is really a stranger
• Learn not to divulge personal information to people he do not know
• Stay away from people who request personal meetings or information about the school he studies in.
So how often do you monitor your child’s web usage?
Parents are often at loggerheads when they look for options to check for their child’s internet usage. You can reach an agreement with your child and instruct him on the number of hours he can spend online. You can also follow the obvious process of placing the computer in a room where you can always see what your child is accessing. But then that leaves the option for laptops and tablets. You can educate your child on the benefits of safe internet usage and trust them to use their internet time sensibly and in a responsible manner. There are plenty of softwares in the market and they will help you monitor your child’s internet progress. You can easily get one of them, set the parental controls according to the type of restrictions you need and just set it going. You can even know about the sites your children have been trying to access, so you can easily know if your child is interested in viewing questionable content on the sly.