It is dreadfully difficult to battle the temptation to spy on your children when they have left their laptop or computer on. You persuade yourself that no possible harm could come from glancing, ever so quickly, into the cyber world of your youngsters. Maybe you have done it, and not felt guilty about it. A little bewildered maybe, but not guilty…
Parents generally know where their kids are each day, and what they plan to do. However, when it comes to their children’s “online lives”, parents have been reduced to the role of spectator. Technology today has a big part to do with the life of a youngster. It influences their education, social life and friendships, yet parents still cannot regulate what their children are doing online. Society has a drinking age and a driving age, but there’s no concrete insight on the age children can safely go online unaccompanied, or communicate to a friend via mobile phone. So, what about the role of parents? Should tabs be kept on their children?
Nowadays, children are heard laughing over a video on youtube or are just using the Internet to discover a treasure trove of knowledge. Gone are the days were children would ask their mother’s to help out with a history project or use an encyclopedia to retrieve information. Mothers also used to overhear their children’s phone conversations with their friends, however, for today’s children, so much communicating goes on silently, via e-mails, social networks and text messages, which is all out of parent’s range. Parents’ want and need to know what their children are up to, and up to a certain age, I feel it is their right and responsibility. Thus, here are a few tips to keep in mind…
Monitoring your child’s internet use can be done in a non-spying manner. If parents hide the fact that they are monitoring their children’s online activity the result could lead to them being upset and probably offended, especially if the parent acts in an “I caught you” manner. This, in turn, may lead to children hiding things from their parents.
Trust is the key when it comes to parents keeping a solid relationship with their children. Thus, once parents decide how much and what kind of monitoring they should do, their children should know about it. Besides, if they know parents are watching, their own self-monitoring will likely increase. Also, talk to your children positively about technology. The more you limit them from the online world, the higher the likelihood that tension will build between parent and child. This may discourage children to talk to parents about confusing or upsetting issues they may come across online. Instead, ask them questions about the websites they visit, showing your youngsters that parents are also interested in keeping up with the online world.
Keeping computers in common areas is a good idea. This allows parents to conveniently be present whilst being used by their children. Parents may further prompt their curiosity by taking interest in what their child is exploring and hence be able to have a clear picture on what is being viewed.
It is also important to check the browser history to know what websites have been visited and what has been downloaded. Also, PCs and Macs have parental controls built into their operating systems, and each of their newest systems offers parents more control than ever.
Parents have to, however, keep in mind that any protection given to children will, of course, be incomplete. The world is out there in all its splendor and horridness, and some of that will come through the modem no matter what. Just don’t ever give up. Keep talking to your children, as conversation is the key to gaining their trust.
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