Parenting has undergone a massive facelift with the advent in technology.
Few can argue that today’s technology has changed the world tremendously, largely for the better. However, like anything new, technology has its downside. Talk to parents of children aged 11-17 and you’ll hear concerns about everything from cyber bullying to how much screen time is too much. As smart phones have become the norm, parents worry about their child having internet access 24/7. Parents today must master the art of digital parenting.
Digital parenting starts when your child is very young – children as young as two are adept tablet users and are often given their parents phones to play with when out and about. In an age appropriate way, parents must instill the concept that the computer, phone, or tablet are not simply toys but powerful tools that should be treated with respect and caution.
Ideally you will locate your computer in a central area of your home. This allows you to monitor your child’s activities online and to help him avoid content not intended for children. For a long period, it seemed that online safety was simply a matter of computer location. Keep the computer in a public area, it was thought, and your children will be less likely to veer toward the dark side of cyberspace. Though that notion is still valid, these days, wireless connections make it possible for youngsters to take the internet with them wherever they go. Even many mobile phones are equipped with online access. With so many options, it is easy to see how a youth’s online escapades can slip past a parent’s radar. Unfortunately, this is no longer enough to ensure your child’s safety online.
Tweens and teens can get online anywhere, anytime with the advent of cell phones and tablets whether you are with them or not. How are you to monitor your child’s cyber safety and habits? There are several parental control software available, including eKAVACH, India’s No.1 digital parenting application. Positive parenting requires you to learn and guide your child. Using a parental control app allows you to spot things like internet addiction, cyber bullying and other potential internet hazards before they become serious problems. These apps also allow you, the parent, to keep abreast of the most current trends on the internet – good and bad – in an efficient, real-time way.
However, before considering any form of parental control, let us examine some of the dangers posed by modern technology to children and what parents should know about them with a view to determining if a digital parenting application is needed to protect their children from harms. Consider some of the online activities that many youths are attracted to and their potential dangers
- Website: Online shopping, academic research, and many others worthwhile activities can be performed on websites. However, the Web has been exploited by all manner of unscrupulous individuals. Many Web sites feature explicit sex, and these are easy for the unwary to stumble upon. Many youths had unintentionally encountered pornography online—in most cases while doing homework! The Web also provides easy access to sites that promote teen gambling
- Chat rooms: This is an electronic space for live text conversation, usually centered on a specific topic or interest. Your child can communicate with a number of individuals whom he or she may never have met but who share a common interest. However, parents should be aware that predators commonly frequent chat rooms hoping to lure a child into an online or even a face-to-face sexual encounter.
- Instant Messages: This refers to live text conversations between two or more individuals. With instant messaging, a user can choose which of his friends he will converse with. However, as a parent you should know that instant message conversations can be distracting if your child is supposed to be studying or engaging in another activity that requires concentration. In addition, how can you be sure with whom your son or daughter is communicating? After all, you cannot hear the conversation.
- Online Social Media/Network: These are sites that allow youths to create a web page and enhance it with pictures, videos, and blogs. Creating and enhancing a web page enables a young person to express his or her identity. Online social networks enable young ones to meet many new friends. As good as it may seem, parents need be aware that a social networking site is just like an online party where some very scary people can show up. The personal information posted on social networks can be exploited by unscrupulous youths and adults.
- Bullying - There are many ways communication technology has been exploited. Some youths have engaged in “cyberbullying” – relentless online teasing, ostracizing, harassing, or threatening. Websites have been set up purely to humiliate someone, while e-mail, chat rooms, and the like have become conduits for slander.
It is within your power to take the best of today’s technology and teach your child to use it wisely to his or her advantage while avoiding the pitfalls. Digital parenting is a learning process that is always changing. By using programs like eKAVACH, parents do not have to be technology wizards to maintain control of their child’s internet safety, the simply have to set limits and watch their child’s activities from their own smart phones. With a parental control program, you and your child are safe to embrace the latest technology, so go for it!