Many parents are unaware how easy it is for their children – the most easily hooked to multi-user games and pornography – to get into trouble on the Internet.
Children know far more than parents do, but adults must still teach codes of conduct as far as online activities are concerned. We need to help children to learn about safe and appropriate behaviour, not just safe and appropriate sites; help them think critically about what they post, read and see online
Teach your children how to be safe, responsible and respectful on the Internet. By keeping your computer in an open area, parents can monitor what their children are doing online and deter them from doing something unsafe. There are some risks such as cyber-stalkers, harassers and cyber-predators were beyond the control of Internet users.
Children should be taught to avoid disclosing inappropriate information and refuse to fill out forms and registrations online to minimise risks.
As online chat rooms are popular among teenagers, parents should tell their children that they can chat but not to confide in strangers. People you chat with online are not your friends, they are people you chat with. Parents should practise asking their children questions about themselves that they might encounter in a chat room. We teach our children to be polite and not to ignore others, but we are also asking them not to talk to strangers. More importantly, teach your children not to tell people personal things because they’d never know who they are talking to.
Wandering aimlessly online was the same as loitering around after school and thus children’s surfing time should be limited to half an hour per day if it was not related to homework. Parents should also pay due attention to symptoms for Internet addiction disorder.
These symptoms include obsession with surfing the Internet, increased time online, unsuccessful attempts to cut down time online, risking loss of job or relationship in order to spend time online, lying about extent of Internet use, using the Internet to escape from problems and losing sleep to the web.
Citing some examples, she said a 13-year-old committed suicide in Vietnam because he felt he was poisoned by online games and could no longer control himself, while a South Korean man died after playing the multi-player game ‘Starcraft’ for 50 hours straight.
It is essential for parents to do their homework by checking out sites; as well as explore safety, privacy tools and parental control features to bring down the level of cyber-crime risks.
Learning abbreviations largely used by teenagers in the cyber-world would also come in handy.