Parents Monitor Your ChildrenThere is a wide generation gap on Internet usage between parents and children and thegap continues to grow as more children are introduced to computers and the Internet.Recent figures show that 90% of school-age children have access to computers either athome or at school (National Center for Education Statistics September 2006). While thisis great for learning and becoming technologically advanced it has become a
source of danger to our children
. The danger stems from the fact that the majority of our childrenare allowed unsupervised access to the Internet. It is reported that one in five child, in theover eight age group, has a computer in their bedroom and this is where the problememanates. As a rule of thumb, computers should be in areas that are accessible to thefamily; no computers in bedrooms of young children (under 13 years). While thisinjunction may not work in some cases, such as when children are alone at home after school, there are safeguards that parents can enact to keep their children safe. The mainresource is the use of programs such as SpectorSoft Computer Monitoring Software.According to a leading computer magazine, Spector Pro, a product of SpectorSoft, is themost powerful and complete monitoring software on the market. An additional attribute isthat Spector Pro Software is available for bothWindowsandMackintoshOperating
Systems.Ideally, all parents should know how to monitor their children's Internet usage, but theyoften have no idea how to do so. Parents are also dangerously unaware of what their children are actually doing online. A survey in the UK suggested that more than
half the9-17 year olds who go online have been exposed to pornographic material
- but onlyone in six parents was aware that their child had ever seen or was aware that this materialis so easily accessible on the Internet( UK ChildrenGoOnline July 2004).At a certain stage in their lives children value their independence but, at the same time,need to establish confidence that parents are there for them, no matter what. It is alsoimportant for them to know that their parents have faith and trust in them. These things,that are an integral part of the growing process, present challenges for parents and theyare at a lost, sometimes, to juggle all of them at the same time.
When in doubtremember
that the child’s safety is of paramount importance
when the matter of independence versus trust comes into play. The following should help in the quest to keepchildren safe on the Internet:
Establish a rapport with your children, talk to them and make them aware that youare
Provide well rounded activities for your children
Do not allow excessive time on the computer for leisure purposes, chats, music,games, etc. Agree with your child on the amount of leisure time spent on thecomputer and be firm about it. In other words establish a contract with your children. “Site Seeing on the Internet” provided by the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) provides sample language that can be used.
Make it a habit, for your child’s sake to check the caller id on your phone to seewho is calling your home.