Internet

Are Our Children Turning into Cyberspace Cadets?

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Most children now live in two worlds – the real one and their virtual one.  Cyberspace has become a cool place to spend time in, chat with friends, socialise and share their problems.  As well as spending time online chatting with school friends, they also make new friends.  And this is where we as parents have to be very careful.

From a very young age children are use devices like iPads and Tablets to play games on and get involved in all sorts of interactive tools that can help them with key skills like reading, writing and drawing.  This is all very well but what happens when the move onto the next stage in development which is getting onto the internet?  This is when we can begin to worry about what is happening to our children and may feel that we are losing control.

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This is where websites like http://quib.ly/ can be a fantastic help.  Here you will meet like-minded parents and carers who are dealing with exactly the same sort of problems and concerns.  You can read about other people’s dilemmas and even post your own topics and questions in order to obtain advice and feedback.

Internet usage crops up in many instances.  Once a child has access to the internet they are poised at the entrance to a vast limitless virtual world.  This is at the same time exciting but also scary and this is where we as parents need to lend a guiding hand and steer them in the right direction.  If you are not internet savvy yourself, then websites like this can soon enable you to understand the basics.  Even if your child is just using the internet for research for school homework, you need to explain to them the limits to which they are bound.  It is absolutely essential that you look at the parental controls available on whatever device they are using and personalise them to suit your child and their age group.  They may just want to listen to music, but sites like YouTube not only offer music videos but an absolute whirlpool of movie clips and TV clips, as well as amateur content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos.Unregistered users can watch videos, while registered users can upload an unlimited number of videos. Videos considered to contain potentially offensive content are available only to registered users at least 18 years old.  Despite the age restraints, you should still be very careful to monitor what your child may be watching.

Social media sites like Facebook allow users who declare themselves to be at least 13 years old to become registered users of the site.  Obviously this too is open to abuse as it is simple enough for children to create a fake profile with an age of 13 years are more, even if they are below this age.

At the end of the day, we cannot prevent our children from using the internet and indeed we should not want to.  It can open them up to a world of opportunities.  The key to looking after our cyberspace cadets is to keep an eye on what they are doing.  Don’t let them spend hours locked away in their room on the internet unless you have some idea of what they are viewing.

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