The internet has become a wonderful resource for kids. They can use it to read school reports, communicate with friends and play interactive games. Internet has become more and more a linking bridge for kids with the big world outside. Unfortunately, that bridge could involve huge potential hazards. For example, an 8-year-old kid might do an online search for “Lego.” But with just one missed keystroke, the word “Legs” is entered instead, and the child may be directed to a slew of websites with a focus on legs — some of which may contain pornographic material.
What will happen to that kid in such scenario? It will obviously have bad impact on him. And who knows through time, if there is no in time prevention and action from his parents, to what extent those risks will affect his development of characteristics.
Therefore, it has become a huge phenomenon in our society nowadays that parents need to be aware the interactions of their kids on the Internet, who they meet, and what they share about themselves online. Just like any safety issue, parents take advantage of resources to protect their kids and keep a close eye on their activities. That is the reason why there are now more and more tools available especially for monitoring kids.
However, such way of protection can’t be simply the all-in-one solution for potential risks. For many teens, text messages or cell phone calls are the primary form of communication with their friends. Then how parents will monitor them? Waiting for new monitoring tools developed in the industry to keep on monitoring their kids? Well, that would be the equivalent of a parent in days past surreptitiously picking up the extension in another room to eavesdrop on a child’s conversation.
Parents should take in consideration their inability to keep up with the time in terms of technology while allowing your children to be exposed too many kinds of new technology so that children outpace them by leaps and bounds. Thus is not only doing parents a disservice – it’s doing one to their children as well. Kids may know their way around the social Web and cell phones better than their parents, but they haven’t fully developed their interpersonal and social skills in a way that allows them to handle the issues that will inevitably come up.
I believe the best way that parents could support their children is to help them learn and grow on her path to independence, which includes staying informed on all trends, both technology and otherwise. Parents who can’t be bothered to figure out what that “tweet thing” is all about or what “sexting” is should not think this is a badge of honor to wear proudly, as if it makes them more mature somehow. It should be a signal that the world has surged ahead and they’ve been left behind in its wake.
Parents should not make this a socio-economic issue, either. If they can’t afford a computer or cell phone, then neither can your child. However, he or she may have access to them at friends’ houses or at school or even access to them via your public library. Many public libraries offer free computer classes, too. The children could even take one together. Let the lack of technology comprehension guide kids to a learning experience that helps them both, instead of being an issue where their children are left unsupervised because their parents don’t know what they are doing.
Yes, in a world plenty of risks of cyber bullying, sexting and other dangerous behaviors, monitoring tools do show their efficiency in protecting kids. That claim may be true to a point, but is keeping track of each chatting passage, reading each and every text message the best way to counteract these behaviors? For that matter, should parents be spying on their kids to this extent at all? Is this level of spying the right way to parent, though? There are alternates of course: Parents could educate their children instead, do spot checks to keep them on their toes, friend them on Facebook and elsewhere across the Web, and keep the computer in a public area of the home.
Parental spyware, however, should be turned to as the last alternative.