Two thirds of all children have had a negative experiences online
The debate is whether parents should have full control of all that their kids do online – that is the time they spend in front of the computer to the sites they visit, the access controls put in place and even big brother monitoring – to the belief that parents should empower their children to make the right choices and decisions. After all this is what they will need to be doing with the rest of their lives
A new report out provides yet further insight into how much in control parents are or indeed want to be when it comes to monitoring their children’s online activities.
The debate is whether parents should have full control of all that their kids do online – that is the time they spend in front of the computer to the sites they visit, the access controls put in place and even big brother monitoring – to the belief that parents should empower their children to make the right choices and decisions. After all this is what they will need to be doing with the rest of their lives.
“Empowering children online is far more effective than trying to control every aspect of their online activity. ”Norton Internet Safety
The most horrifying statistic from the report is that more children – two thirds of all children – have had negative experiences online – that is they have come across unexpected pornographic, been bullied, harassed, felt fear while going about their usually online activities.
Children’s negative experiences include: 41% saying someone I don’t know tried to add me as their friend to their social network; 33% have downloaded a virus unexpectedly; 25% have seen violent or nude images; 10% have had the experience of someone they don’t know trying to persuade them to meet them in real life.
The emotional impact on children who have these negative experiences is huge. They describe the experiences as upsetting, angry worried, afraid, annoyed, disgusted, ashamed, distrustful, confused. Children feel responsible in the main for their actions which are sometimes without justification.
Expert insight says ‘ This is a dangerous cocktail. Children are feeling responsible about many things that are not their fault and emotions are running high. While as adults we tend to visit a number of trusted sites, children surf the internet much more freely – for fun and for homework. This exposes them and their families to many more online risks’
It is crucial that children know that they can come to their parents and that they will listen and not be accused…. If they think they’ll be blamed or punished they just may push things underground.
The good news is that kids are happy to obey family rules – they want parental involvement. Kids are even putting together their own set of guidelines – while parents focus is on limits the kids rules are about good online manners and behaviour.
Children’s rules include:
Don’t bully or be mean to others online
Tell a parent if I am being bullied
Don’t harass or stalk people
Don’t pass on embarrassing photos or posts about others
Dont pass on spam
Never give out any personal information
Tips for parents:
Parents should make sure that :
· Internet security software is installed
· They teach children to check their Internet security software and to say if it is not working or has expired
· Parental controls are set to filter out adult content
Parents can check what sites their children visit by using:
· The History button on their web browser
· The Search tab of Web Activity tab within the Norton Online Family You can download this FREE Online Family service here.
Parents need to involve children in setting family rules. Explaining why you don’t want children to access certain material is more positive than simply blocking sites. Similarly say why you’d feel better about monitoring their activity rather than prying without discussion.
Social Networking Safety Tips
· Tell children only to add friends they know and not add ‘friends of friends’
· Have your children add you as a friend so you can see who their friends are
· Make sure your child tells you if someone online wants to meet them in person
· Block unwelcome contacts
Children need to know that they can rely on parents to always be there for them. SO be ready to listen and help and support. Watch out for changes in emotions and encourage your children to talk.
Parents also need to be aware of the online risks to children via the mobile phone and should:
· Check phone bills and account activity
· Make sure phones are left and charged in a family room, not taken into bedrooms at night
Don’t ban access
Make sure children know that consequences of not sticking to your family’s rules , but do not ban access to their favourite technologies. They will only seek access elsewhere and become emotional in the process.
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