Vinod Nair –
Giving children access to the Internet is not a bad thing to do for any parent. But giving an unrestricted access to uncensored information could prove to be a costly misadventure. Royal Oman Police too has been urging parents in Oman to monitor the activities of children online.
According to international experts, there are no fool-proof solutions to this issue and imposing complete restrictions without giving convincing reasons could backfire. According to one view it is important that children should be consulted before preparing Internet usage rules for them.
It would be advisable to let them know that they have not grown-up yet and their activities will continue to be monitored. “It is important to be involved with their activities at home to take timely action if they get into trouble at home.” There are several other mechanisms such as passwords and firewalls to restrict access but children these days are smarter than their parents to breach the barrier.
“So it is better to make children aware of the dangers of the Internet world rather going for a complete policing,” they say.
“Parents should engage themselves with children on the use of Internet and highlight the dos and don’ts.
Blanket restrictions may only generate more curiosity,” feels Emily, a homemaker and mother of two in Muscat.
“Children will always try to find out what they want, but we can monitor if not stop what they are trying to access in the virtual world,” she said.
Tariq Mustafa said children are exposed to pitfalls both in the virtual and real worlds. “They will learn from mistakes but it is the responsibility of the parents to act before it is difficult to undo the damage.”
With schools increasingly encouraging students to access Internet for information gathering, it is important to teach them how to use and not misuse the technology.
According to Internetsafety101.org, while most teens ignore bullying, others end up becoming victims.
Interaction is the way of protecting against cyber bullying.
Predators can stalk kids on the Internet, taking advantage of children’s innocence, luring them into very personal encounters.
Children may post personal information online on social media profiles that should not be out in public, which may include their home addresses, school details and times when they are left alone to fend for themselves.
Teach your children to avoid clicking on emails or texts from strangers and to be wary of messages that claim to be from their friends but have no genuine personal message attached.
Children might fall for scams that offer goodies such as as free access to online games.
There is a possibility of some of the small unintended posts of today may haunt children in the future.