In today’s technology age, children are more intelligent in technology than their parents because most children are very inquisitive.
In this digital age where the advancement of technology controls almost all aspects of our life, protecting children against online risks must be an added priority amongst other responsibilities of parents.
In a survey by the UK Royal Society for Public Health, it was reported that social media is more addictive than cigarettes & alcohol.
Despite its many benefits, the internet or social media can be a very dangerous place for children if they are not properly monitored because many children have ignored the advantages of social media and embraced the disadvantages.
Parents must be aware that there are so many risks attached to their children when they are using the internet and when these risks are ignored, the children will be exposed to many online dangers e.g. cyber bullying, cybersex addiction, depression, pornography addiction, internet fraud, data breaches, online gaming & gambling addiction etc
In a recent statistics of social media addiction, it was discovered that teens who spend over 5 hours a day on social media are 71% more vulnerable to suicide compared to teens who only use social network for one hour a day (Source: NPR)
There was another report of a 16-year-old girl in Malaysia who took her own life, hours after 69% of respondents on her social media account encouraged her to kill herself.
In order to minimise these online risks, being mindful of the following tips can ensure that your children are protected online:
- Teach them moral education so that they will know how to treat others with respect.
- Teach your children to always get permission from you anytime they want to use the social media.
- Tell them that they should never reveal any information about themselves or their family members to their online or real life friends.
- Always update the browser on their computer and other mobile devices.
- Keep their computer in an open place where every member of the family can see what they are doing online.
- Spend more time with your children and always interact with them so as know if they are addicted to social media or not.
- Make sure you know the username and password of their social media accounts.
- Teach them to always inform you anytime they experience anything online that makes them uncomfortable.
- Discourage them from visiting any website with inappropriate content e.g. porn sites.
- Encourage them to use a child-friendly search engine which only displays pages that are suitable for the young ones.
- Use parental control softwares on all their computers & other devices.
- Discourage them from having many social media accounts.
- Educate them to know the difference between online and real life friends.
- Set time limit for them any time they want to use the computer or social media.
- Make sure you know their online friends.