It isn’t news that every parent’s concern is how their child will adapt to the online world. Fears of how children can be a little imprudent when it comes to giving out information even to complete strangers if they happen to strike the right chord with the use of certain well-placed words, a little hidden coaxing, and blatant flattery, are not unfounded. Children, at their age, are more trusting, since they do not yet know the ways of the world.
When confronted with something new, they don’t think twice before putting forward information, unless it is ingrained deep into their minds that careful revelation of information is a must. Conversing face-to-face with a stranger gives at least a hint of their intentions. But what happens when these misleading strangers are behind gadget screens? What can you do to protect your child from the predatory onslaught?
The problem with children entering the big, bad world of the Internet, is that they are so eager to try something new. In this process, their information and images are bound to fall in the wrong hands, for the Internet has scores of people parading as friends, while in fact they turn out to be bullies, rapists, or sadistic pranksters. So how can children be brought to cognizance of the cons of the Internet?
The answer lies around them: YOU!
It is your responsibility as a parent to sit them down and enlighten them about the ways of the world, about how the virtual world behaves in conjunction with the real world. It is your responsibility to teach them to protect themselves – you won’t be around forever – and make sure that the mistakes they make are not the mind-numbing, life-changing events that you were so terrifies about.
Teach them how to let their privacy be indeed private. Teach them the A to Z of privacy settings on social media. Teach them which privacy setting does what and let them know why they need to do it, even if it means dramatizing the story in your own eccentric ways. Most important of all – teach them the definition of privacy and its violation. Tell them tidbits from around the world, of how various countries treat the offence. For example, Indian law sentences anyone found guilty of breaching this law to a two-year imprisonment, or fines them up to one lakh rupee, or both. In addition to breach of this law, most impostors lead unsuspecting users on, and commit heinous crimes.
So, in addition to teaching them online privacy, also teach your child why it is needed. The “why” is of utmost importance in the online world.
About the Author
Sonali Vijay Dabade is a professional freelance writer. She has been writing and editing for some time now, with a special interest in children’s and family subjects. Prior to writing, she loves reading all sorts of books, relish travelling and has a deep affection for music. She believes herself as a spirited dreamer and an admiring thinker.
Sonali helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids’ lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you’re wondering “what’s the right age for…?” With an extensive and abiding interest in children and bossing people around, her role as a parenting expert brings her skills and obsessions together in perfect harmony.