There is a paradigm shift in sheltering our children in the surveillance of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, brothers, sisters and sometimes teachers, tuition tutors to the today’s world where our children are growing with the technological advances. They are constantly in a touch of laptops, mobile phones and online world through different mediums.
My Mother usually let me stay at my tuition center for a long time just to ensure my safety while she can shop around the market. This makes her less worried about me as I am in the “Chatrachaya” of the tutor but:
What would happen if the vulnerabilities came from the medium which is easily accessible and highly dangerous?
Just think about it, a mother is going to market and the child instantly posted online “Playing online game all alone with high volume #Enjoyment #Fun”. This post would give an idea to the predator about the child as he is alone and can be manipulated or can be a victim of any kind of crime.
Social media let your child to find new friends online, it gives them privilege to create an online avatar with almost 70% on their personal information easily accessible to their friend’s list. Other than this through the social media I.e. Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Skype let the user to use social media for online games as well.
I am a latecomer to the social media world as I first got the glimpse through the Google Orkut and Yahoo mail. There was a trend that the more the Orkut scraps are, the more it will attracts friends and followers. The online safety perspective was vague at that moment as Orkut and social media world was at their initial stages in India. But today the scenario is quite different. The internet and social media both penetrated in our life in every single aspect, suppose my mother asked me to bring dhania (coriander) from the market. Why would I walk certain miles to bring it while I can order it on an online store. and sometimes this internet helps me in escaping from my father’s rebuttal for not paying the water and electricity bill.
We knew that online world can be dangerous for the children and sometimes to the elderly as well but certain measures can surely help us in establishing a safe environment for our nears and dears.
So, what can we do to live and enjoy online spaces peacefully and safely?
The first and the foremost step in creating safe environment is to make your social media profile as private. when an account is set to public, anyone can see what you post, anywhere in the world. Kids are fragile so as their thinking capability, they can accidentally see inappropriate content online including violent, offensive or sexual material. So, what could be done in this scenario: let the kid use the internet in common areas where family members are available this makes them less likely to access inappropriate content. Parental control settings can also be helpful in reducing the risk of kids accessing content that is not appropriate.
In real world we prefer ignorance over fight and quarrel if a person misbehaves, but in an online world this thing won't work specially in the cases of cyber bullying and trolling. We as a literate human being can help kids in teaching them to block or unfriend a person if he/she is upsetting them. This helps in stopping the bully to contact them.
When I was in school, I got access to a nearby cybercafe. The moments were enjoyable as I played hours on games like Dangerous Dave, Sky roads and Wolfenstein. The cybercafe was more of a gaming parlor for us but several people older than me purposefully used that cybercafe for email and international tele calling. My mom scolded me for hours after finding my eyes strained. There is no right or wrong in using computer or mobile but it is really important for children to learn and play in real atmosphere. We must think about screen usage for our children as if it is impacting their health and well being.
Unknown people in a real and virtual world create sense of vulnerability among parents for their child. My mother used to teach me “beta! don’t make strangers your friend”. The idea was that if kids communicate with strangers or someone, they never met in real life they might become the victim easily. So, in the end we must let the kids understands contacting and communication known person is better than talking to strangers.
Talking to kids help in creating parents more of a mentor which further makes a way for good parenting and let their child more understandable towards online risks. Kids usually don’t think about the impact of the content on their life while posting. The foremost thought for parents is ensure that their kids must know about “if you don’t think before you act it can be very costly.”
Social Media Matters works on a similar kind of thing, we provide workshops on online safety and safe internet usage. We are an expert in conduction capacity building workshop for school goers, college students or anyone having inclination towards safe internet usage.
How To Keep Your Kids Safe Online
Rayyan Yunus Wranga Digital Parenting