The Internet has become an essential part of the lives of all people, including children. This is a generation born to press 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 silence of the house, but they don’t know what their children are really looking at.
Internet users 33% of them are children
The European Commission says that one in 3 internet users is a child, or around 33% of internet users in the world are children, and these children are accessing the internet at a younger age than ever before through a variety of devices, and they spend their They spend more and more 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, bullying and cyberbullying that many young people face, online predators communicating with children through apps and sites where these young people interact, and predators posing as a child or teenager who are looking for To find a new friend, and encourage the child to exchange personal information, such as home address and phone number, or encourage children to contact and communicate with them in preparation for their exploitation and deception.
Here parents need to be aware of what their children see and hear online, who they meet and what they share about themselves, and for this parents need to talk to their children and monitor their activities instead of believing that they are quiet and safe in their rooms.
In this context, Nick Wheaton, head of JH Goodwin Primary School in Chester, UK, warns about the apparent calmness of children while online. This “silence can be misleading,” Wheaton said in statements to the BBC, which recently published a lengthy report on the subject.
“Children can be traumatized by the terrible videos they see on the Internet,” explains the head teacher of the school, which includes 180 pupils ranging in age from four and a half to 11. Ms. Wheaton explains that his “kids as young as 6 are playing computer games with a rating of 12.” On the internet we have cases of children needing medication for sleep, which is very worrying.”
And she added, “Some of the children who come to school are sleeping in the classroom and not paying attention to their studies because they have been up all night playing on their devices and phones. Some of them have gone as far as to organize a competition on WhatsApp (WhatsApp) who among them plays the longest and can stay awake the longest, and the winner was a child.” I send the last message at four in the morning.”
In addition to watching inappropriate content online or staying up late, online children can be vulnerable to sexual abuse. Such issues are familiar to British researcher Rachel O’Connell, who has studied and investigated a large number of cases of child abuse via the Internet, and worked on statistical techniques to identify abusers, according to the BBC in its previous report.
In the course of her research, she entered the Internet and pretended to be an 8-year-old girl who had no friends at school, and wanted to make new friends through the network. “.
In her work, 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, something that parents who don’t know how to parent in the digital world don’t know,” which leaves them with a sense of helplessness and confusion. arouse
To get rid of this confusion and this deficit, and to address this serious problem, the European Commission has developed a special strategy to deal with it in order to provide a safe environment for children on the international network.
This strategy aims to raise awareness and promote digital literacy among minors, parents and educators, and it also combats child sexual abuse material online through its network of hotlines (INHOPE).
Internet security laws
The United States has a special federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This law 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. First of all.
The law requires websites and electronic platforms to clarify their privacy policies, and to obtain parental consent before collecting or using a child’s personal information, such as name, address, telephone number or social security number, and the law also prohibits any website from ask 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 control options for parents. You can also get 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 U.S. Kids Health organization declared 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 offer you some basic instructions 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 instructions must be clear to your children, according to the “Children’s Health” organization; Always talk to them about it, discuss it and explain it to them, and answer their questions about it, whatever they may be, without complaining. It is important that your child understands the risks he faces through the international network in the face stare, which is:
- Follow the family rules and those set by your internet service provider.
- Never post or trade personal photos.
- Never reveal any personal information such as an address, phone number, school name or location.
- Do not share passwords with anyone except your parents.
- Never agree to meet face-to-face with someone you meet online without parental permission and/or supervision.
- Never respond to threatening and intimidating emails or social media messages, and tell your parents immediately.
- Always tell a parent or other trusted adult about any contact or conversation that was scary 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 about 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.
- Find out about the online protection methods that the school provides for your child, if any, as well as the training and educational centers that your children visit, or the houses of friends or any place where children can use the computer without your supervision.
- Take your child seriously if he reports any harassment he is exposed to through the network, as many parents ignore such complaints from their children, although they can be very serious.