The use of social media and the variety of websites is part of everyday life for almost every family. It certainly plays a huge part in our day-to-day life; running a blog, reading the news, liking, sharing, commenting and re-tweeting posts on our social media accounts. Students use Google instead of text books. Parents seek guidance on how to deal with children instead of asking their Health Visitor. Home owners turn to online grocery shopping instead of visiting the store with a trolley. The internet provides a vast range of useful tools to make living life more efficient.
Many children are using mobile phones, tablets and computers to search the internet and keep in touch with friends and family. I am guilty of allowing my 3 year old son to watch video’s of a guy dressing as a Dinosaur in an office on YouTube, playing on (mainly) educational apps and using movie-streaming applications such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Give him a tablet and he can unlock it and select the Netflix app before I can take the cover off – it’s a sign of a new generation of children. As detailed on My Tech Lounge, the online voucher site My Voucher Codes wanted to find out what parents feared most about their children using this technology and found that the majority of parents were most worried about online bullying and access to adult content.
And rightly so. It is reported in the national press all too often that children have taken their own lives or seriously harmed themselves, suffering with depression, because they’re a victim of online bullying. It has also been reported in the press recently that Twitter is the only form of social media website that freely allows adult content to be shared without penalty. One does not have to look far before innocently stumbling across accounts or websites such as these.
The results of the survey shows:
- Online bullying (58% extremely worried)
- Access to adult content (49% extremely worried)
- Sharing inappropriate images (49% extremely worried)
- Grooming (48% concerned)
- Access to extremism (44% concerned)
- Addiction to social media (57% concerned)
- Effects on education (66% concerned)
- Privacy (55% concerned)
- Effect on long term health (49% concerned)
- Running up huge bills (65% not worried at all)
How can we, as parents, help our children to understand the risks they are faced? How can we protect them from coming across extreme content, whether it’s political, sexual or subject otherwise? These are difficult questions to answer. Block access to adult websites via your router; that’s relatively easy. Talk to your children and depend on the trust you have built up over the years to discuss issues such as online bullying and trolling. Rely on them to come to you if they experience anything like that and agree to monitor their accounts.
I’m not too concerned about O’s use of technology at the moment as he is supervised whilst using technology at his young age. However for parents of pre-teen’s and teen’s, I can only imagine the concern. We are raising a generation of children online – with more technological understanding than mine.
Are you worried about your children and their use of technology?