Why Parents Need To Be Aware Of The Risks Associated With The Internet

In today’s modern era of the internet and technology, many parents are unaware of the dangers that exist. Children outsmart their parents when it comes to technology with the younger generation doing almost everything online without their parents knowing what their children are up to. Young people may know the internet and mobile technology inside out, but they aren’t so expert on how to safeguard against the many dangers that hide in our ever expanding cyber world.

Why are parents unaware?46643414_l

Unlike adults, many young people have never known the world without internet, they are technology natives while we adults are still clumsily finding our way through the world of  internet and mobile technology. Simply because parents of today are from a less technological era does not mean we can not learn about the internet and associated gadgets (such as smartphones or laptops). Parents  fear or lack of knowledge towards technology leads to a generation gap between parents and children which can have consequences if you as a parent, don’t consider becoming more tech savvy now.

You would never let strangers come into your house and send them straight to your child’s room even with supervision, so allowing the internet to go unmonitored is basically giving strangers a green light to interact with your child. You would hope your child understands the dangers and would behave accordingly i.e. not sharing personal information, visiting adult websites or friending and engaging inappropriately with strangers.  However, you never know, so until you have that conversation with your child and engage in a meaningful way with technology and how your children interact with it. So why not start here and learn about some the dangers associated with the internet and mobile technology.

Associated Risks:Design JPEG

We discussed earlier that there are several dangers of the internet, these are things that parents need to be aware of. Given below is a list of some of the risks associated with the use of the internet:

  • Sexual predators: Parents often teach their children not to talk to strangers, however, on the internet, many people young people interact with are actually strangers. These virtual strangers are people that children know little about and yet they choose to trust and communicate with them. This leads to several problems that can include online grooming, harassment, and sexual exploitation.
  • Cyberbullying: This term cyberbullying is described as the sending of hateful and offensive messages to someone. This is a serious issue related with the use of the internet as children online can be subjected to hate comments, sexual messages, threats of violence and even death threats.
  • Pornography: One of the most dangerous and negative aspects of the internet is pornography. For many parents, an alarming thing is that a pornographic popup could come up at any time when their child is on the internet. It is estimated that over 60% of the internet has sexually explicit content not suitable for young people.
  • Grooming and Exploitation: Online grooming is when a person uses the internet to get close to a young person and gain their trust. That person will try to form relationships with children and pretend to be their friend. But in reality, that person only wants to take advantage and harm them.
  • Radicalisation:  Understanding what radicalisation is can be instrumental in having knowledge of how it can affect young people on the internet. Simply put, it refers to a process by which an individual, in this case, young internet users, can adopt extreme political, social, or religious views, by interacting with individuals or extremist content. This leads to the rejection of the status quo and becoming influenced by what the extremists would want them to believe. This could also lead into participating in violence as a means of emphasising political aims.29013325_l
  • Reputation damage: Young kids nowadays do all sort of things online on the social media – they post pictures, videos, and comments (sexting) without putting much thought into what they’re doing. These mistakes made by the inexperienced children can cause them regret later onwards in life.

Why should parents be more knowledgeable?

Parents who choose to remain oblivious to these dangers ultimately means that they cannot guide their kids on what are the rights and wrongs of technology. When this younger generation learns about the positives and negatives of the internet, they will understand how it can impact on them and hence, they will utilize the technology better.

It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children the rules and regulations of using the internet (such as the do’s and the don’ts). However, in order to teach children this, parents must themselves be knowledgeable about the internet, its positives, and its negative effects. Many of these issues are sensitive and taboo subjects is many communities, but if you want to safeguard your children you need to have an adult to adult conversation with them about all the associated dangers that lurk in today’s cyber world.

The major reasons concerning why parents, particularly mothers need to have internet awareness are:28330261_l

  • Parents can set standards and guidelines for their children i.e. what their children can and cannot do with specific restrictions on pornography, online dating, and e-commerce websites.
  • It aids parents in teaching their children about social networks and how to use it positively for education and recreational purposes. When the parents are knowledgeable, they can also teach their children about cyberbullying and what to do if your child is a victim.
  • It allows parents to learn techniques through which they can monitor the activities of their children (and teens).

Solutions for parents:

  • Start taking interest: For learning about anything, you need to have interest, passion even. Similarly, to learn about technology, you need to develop an interest yourself in new technology. As a parent, you won’t be able to do much for your children if you don’t understand the gadgets they use and the things they do online. Learn about the internet, the social network, and the world wide web of today. Understand that this is the future and to ensure that your children shine in this future, you must keep yourself informed about these technologies.19672598_l (1)
  • Use the internet by yourself: The best thing about the internet and associated technologies is that it can be learned practically i.e. without having to take lessons or read books. As a parent, link yourself with the modern world. Create your own social network account, get your own smartphone, and start making use of the technology. Explore and discover the world of the internet.
  • Awareness programs: This is a responsibility that the government, schools, law enforcement, Local Authorities even social media companies need to undertake. For parents that are from non-technological backgrounds, the need to invest in awareness programs that help educate these parents regarding the internet and modern technologies. Through these awareness programs, parents will be taught about how the internet, the smart devices, and the social media today can be a danger to their children. The government, policy makers and children’s services need to ensure that children in all families from diverse backgrounds are aware of the rights and wrongs of the internet world so that in the later future, these children grow up to be the positive change in the world.

Read all about the dangers of sexting in http://www.thebabbleout.com

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Author: Asian Mums Network Blogger

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About the author: AMN