Without a doubt one of the best advances in technology is the big World Wide Web, the internet. In the last 10 years it has exploded beyond anyone’s imagination. Today if someone told you they had no access to the internet; lets be honest it seems as though they are missing out big time, and for the rest of us, we can’t go on without it. We need to be connected at all times. It makes me realize, how was there once a world without it?
The web is a fascinating world of its own, of course a virtual one and accessible right from our living rooms. The web has evolved so fast, it is now even available on our mobile phones, hot spots such as airports and café shops, at our work place, schools and in fact anywhere you can think of.
The web also allows our children to see and learn new things everyday. The web facilitates for all subjects areas such as from business, to geography, to science, sport and just about everything and anything. Wikipedia for example is a marvelous tool. If you type the name of a place, it will give you some very informative information and tell you everything you would need to know about that place. There are other tools such as Google map, currency converters, online dictionaries, access to latest news, online shopping, booking holidays sites, and the list goes on and on. Then there are sites which brings people together in so many ways with social sites such as Facebook, and as well as instant messaging and online forums, and many other ways for communities and friends to get together. Many people use these same tools to make new friends as well.
Ok… The internet is wonderful, let’s make the point!
However the internet, as handy and useful as it is, could be potentially life threatening, and a very dangerous resource. Exposing the internet to our children exposes them to many inappropriate web sites that are harmful in a number of ways. Children like to be entertained and are adventurous and curious by nature. The internet is certainly entertaining and adventurous to use.
In particular websites such as Facebook and other social sites can be used for other more evil intentions. Then there are the obvious sites which are unsuitable such as dating sites, porn, violence, gambling and many other examples.
These are the dangers of social sites and instant messaging tools. Yes they do provide us with a great service keeping us in touch with our friends and family. It doesn’t seem that difficult living abroad anymore knowing you’re only a webcam or email away from speaking to your parents. But it’s always about how you intend to use these resources. Now for a serial killer, pedophile or a fraudster, they will also use these great services to do evil and illegal activities.
The major problem with the internet is there are no supervision and no control onto what children can visit or bump into. Type what you want to look for on the search engines and almost always you will find it. You will also find a whole load of other things as well, such as links leading to other sites. kids will click anything and everything, surfing the web and finding new websites. Some of these websites contain viruses; attempt to steal your personal information, and other criminal activities. Then there are the websites you just would not want your child to see, such as porn and violence, and many other dangerous sites.
The other concern is online crime is difficult to track, and requires specialist skills. However the government is certainly catching up and have put strategies in place to making online crime a huge priority.
So the internet is good and bad depending on how our children make use of it, what shall we do now?
The two primary methods to ensuring your child is safe are to first educate them, and second to monitor them. Now educating happens every so often; you sit down with them and tell them about the dangers of the world and the internet. However monitoring them is a little more complicated because you can not watch your kids 24/7. Fortunately though you can use a monitoring tool, and even better, a tool that stops your children from viewing unsuitable sites and recording everything they do. A tool which blocks private chat rooms, places a time limit on how long one can browse the web, and many other configurable restrictions. This is an ideal solution for schools and homes.
Other small steps one can take are to place the computer in a public place. If at home then it should be placed in the living room, and not behind locked doors. Also take an interest in your child’s hobbies and interests when they are online, this will help you keep track of how your child is using the virtual world, and your child will be aware of their responsibilities.
So my point is the internet is a blessing to us all, and it’s the most useful resource I have ever come across. However due to the nature of the internet and the way it brings people together, it can pose a threat to our children. The best way to combat issues like this is first to educate our children and second to monitor them when online.