In the current age of online technology, it is no surprise that our children are sometimes more technologically inclined than us as parents. However beneficial this may seem, the threat of having our children exposed to potential online danger is real. It is of utmost importance that parents talk to their children about the use of online sites, including social media sites such as Facebook.
Facebook’s age restriction policy: an attempt to combat child abuse
Facebook have instituted several measures in an attempt to combat abuse against children. One such measure is the fact that children under the age of 13yrs cannot open an account. When the date of birth indicates an age of 13yrs and under, the account is immediately rejected. But we are human and humans find solutions. Many parents register their children with birth dates older than 13yrs; often not thinking about the potential danger which may lurk in the dark. The Quib.ly community strive to assist parents in giving their children a head start be prodivding them with child-safe websites.
Recently a convicted paedophile was arrested and charged for thirty counts of sexual offences against children, after he targeted children on internet sites including Facebook and MSN Messenger. The youngest child reported to have been submitted to this abuse was only 9 years old.
It is our duty as parents to protect our children
Most issues faced by parents regarding their children’s use of the internet are reasonably minor, including accidental direction to websites of a pornographic nature and the receiving or sending of unsuitable material. Your child could have accidentally spelled a word wrong, resulting into this unfortunate action. As parents it is imperative that we acquaint ourselves with the internet and gain sufficient knowledge on how to protect our children online.
The first step we as parents should take, is to learn about the safety for children’s mobile devices. A simple change of such device’s security settings means we can put parental control into operation; an excellent tool when seeking to manage the internet use of your child. We should also encourage our children not to broadcast their private information online, including schedules and passwords, their home address or compromising photographs.
It is unfortunate that we cannot simply rely on the use of internet safety software to keep our children protected from exposure to potential danger. We have to explain to our children that certain inappropriate actions may have serious consequences. To nip potential inappropriate online actions in the bud, it is advised that a computer is kept within a shared room such as the living room, and not in the bedroom of your child. When a child knows that his/her actions on the shared computer can be seen at any given time, it is likely to discourage any inappropriate use, which may just be enough to encourage them to stick to child safe websites.
There are several resources available to parents that offer information on how to manage your children’s use of the World Wide Web. Internet safety a resource page with lots of information relating to your children and internet safety, while Quib.ly is a fun and well-organised website providing strategies and resources to parents when dealing with the modern degree of online technology. These are excellent resources for children, parents and educators.