The Internet has become an essential part of the lives of all people, including children. This generation was born to push a button and open a screen. Some parents may think that their children are safe in their rooms while they are with their devices and computers away from the dangers of the streets and bad companions, because when they connect to the Internet, they are silent, and they hardly make a sound what disturbs the peace of the home, but they don’t know what their children are really looking at.
33% of internet users are children
The European Commission says that 1 in 3 Internet users is a child, which is about 33% of Internet users in the world are children, and these children access the Internet at an ever younger age through a variety of devices, while they are more and spend more. more of their time online, browsing social media, playing games and using mobile apps, often without adult supervision.
In fact, the Internet can be a wonderful thing for children, as they can use it to do research, help them with their homework, communicate with teachers and other children, and use interactive games.
But online access also carries serious risks, such as inappropriate content, cyberbullying and cyberbullying that many young people face, and online predators who communicate with children through the apps and websites these young people interact with, and scammers can pretend to be like a child or teen looking to find a new friend, encouraging the child to exchange personal information such as home address and phone number, or encouraging children to call and communicate with them in preparation for exploitation and deception.
Here parents need to be aware of what their children see and hear on the internet, who they meet and what they share about themselves, therefore parents need to talk to their children and monitor their activities rather than thinking that they are calm and safe in their rooms.
In this context, Nick Whitton, principal of JH Goodwin Primary School in Chester, UK, warns about the apparent calm of children online; This “silence can be misleading,” as Wheaton confirms, in statements to the BBC, which recently published a long report on the subject.
“Children can be traumatized by the terrible videos they watch online,” explains the head of the school with 180 students, ranging in age from four and a half to 11. Ms. Whitton explains that she “sees kids as young as 6 years old playing computer games with a rating of 12.” On the Internet, we have cases of children who need medication to sleep, and this is very worrying.”
“Some of the children who come to school sleep in the classroom and don’t pay attention to their studies because they were up all night playing on their devices and phones. Some of them even organized a competition on WhatsApp, which one plays the longest and could stay awake the longest, and the winner was a child,” she said. He sent the last message at 04:00 in the morning.”
In addition to watching inappropriate content online, or staying up late, children who are online can be vulnerable to sexual abuse; Such cases are known to British researcher Rachel O’Connell, who has studied and investigated a large number of cases related to online child abuse, and worked on statistical techniques to identify abusers, according to the BBC’s previous report.
In the course of her research, she went online and pretended to be an 8-year-old who had no friends at school and wanted to make new friends online. In fact, her understanding of the mentality of “predators” chasing children makes her claim that “only children are often the target of”.
For her work visit Ms. O’Connell works with many schools and finds that many parents have no idea what apps their children have access to. “It seems that posting nude selfies on the internet has now become a rite of passage, which is something that parents who don’t know how to parent in the digital world don’t know,” creating a sense of helplessness and confusion create for them.
To get rid of this confusion and this inability, and to address this serious problem, the European Commission has developed a special strategy to deal with it with the aim of providing a safe environment for children on the Internet.
This strategy seeks to raise awareness and promote digital literacy among minors, parents and educators, and combats online child sexual abuse material through its network of hotlines (INHOPE).
Internet Safety Laws
The United States has a federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which seeks to protect children under the age of 13 when they are online and is designed to prevent anyone from obtaining a child’s personal information without a parent’s knowledge and consent Or not.
The law requires websites and online platforms to clarify their privacy policies and obtain parental consent before collecting or using a child’s personal information, such as name, address, phone number or social security number. The law also prohibits any website from requiring a child to provide personal information. Too much to play a game or enter an online competition.
Online protection tools
Online tools allow you to control your children’s access to mature material and help protect them from online predators, and many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer parental control options. You can also find programs that help prevent access to websites and limit the transmission of personal information over the Internet, and there are other programs to monitor and track children’s online activity, according to the US Kids Health organization on its platform.
But more important than blocking dangerous material and websites is teaching your children how to behave safely and responsibly online, and in the following we give you some basic guidelines to share with your children and teach them to safe use online as mentioned by the previous platform.
Basic tips to share with your children
The following guidelines should be clear to your children, according to Children’s Health; Always talk to them about it, discuss it and explain it to them, and answer their questions about it, no matter what and without complaining. It is important that your child understands the risks he faces through the international network, what is:
- Follow the family rules and those set by your ISP.
- Never post or trade personal photos.
- Never reveal any personal information such as address, phone number, school name or location.
- Never share passwords with anyone except your parents.
- Never agree to meet face-to-face with someone you met online without parental permission and/or supervision.
- Never respond to threatening and intimidating emails or on social media, and tell your parents immediately.
- Always tell a parent or other trusted adult about any communication or conversation that is intimidating or hurtful.
Basic principles of parental supervision
In this context, the platform mentioned some of the basic guidelines for parents:
- Spend time online with your children to teach them appropriate online behavior.
- Place the computer in a public place where you can watch it being used, not in individual bedrooms, and also monitor any time your children spend on smartphones or tablets.
- Bookmark children’s favorite websites for easy access.
- Check your credit card and phone bills for any other unknown charges.
- Learn more about the online protection methods provided by the school for your child, if any, as well as the training and educational centers your children visit, or friends’ houses or anywhere children can use the computer without your supervision.
- Take seriously if your child reports any harassment online, many parents neglect such complaints from their children even though they can be very serious.