Safe Internet Surfing for children

17 February 2012

Technology offers many opportunities and it has become a big part of everyone’s daily life, for both adults and children, as it corresponds to all aspects of life: friendly relationships, entertainment, shopping, school, information, jobs and many others.

While technology has penetrated our lives, some families’ adjustment to this "new reality" has not been smooth. This happened due to the fact that technology has replaced at some level the traditional roles of parents and children. Children have become the “experts” while some parents are left behind only to observe all the evolutions that take place in this unknown field. This could only make them feel full of insecurity, fear and anxiety.

When experiencing these feelings, some times parents act with impulsion and under the rationale of prohibition. However, this prohibition of using technology automatically puts children out of reality and thus it cannot be easily accepted by them. The answer to prohibition is to draw limits and the first step is accepting the reality…and this means that children are the "experts" on this issue and parents can only be taught on how to use this technology by their children.

Children are usually one step ahead of their parents with regards to technology. Ask them to teach you. Browse the internet with them and see how your child behaves in this digital world. See which pages they visit and observe how they react to stimuli they receive. As a parent cares for and learns about their children`s friends, as well as their habits and places where they hang out in "real" life, they must  observe with the same perseverance and discreetness their second "digital" life.

Any strict advice or "raised finger" will not work. It is good for parents to remember, that children consider themselves experts of internet and technology in general. "DON’T" and "SHOULD NOT" should be replaced with "HOW" and "WHY" in order to open a dialogue between children and parents.
We remind you that we should accept that children have a digital daily life. Their digital and real life should be similar at all levels.

As parents determine the time their child spends out - fully adapted to his needs, his age and trust that they show to the child - , they should also determine in the same way the time spent in Internet

Parents cannot stand by their children all day long. Hence, they cannot protect them from any possible danger. However, their role is to teach them how to handle any dangerous situation they might face and how to avoid any unforeseen obstacles. And again, if children do not succeed, they always have a relationship of safety and trust with their parents that acts as a security blanket.

Internet and technology in general have to offer a positive impact on children and there is no need to deprive them of this possibility.

Knowledge and experience are key elements that will make parents capable of handling and preventing any problems that occur in their children’s lives.