By: Elizabeth Asino-Joseph
According to a new study from McAfee, 70 percent of teens hide what they access online from their parents. This revelation is alarming. Even though this study was done in the United States, the teens in the United States have the exact Internet access that our Teens in Namibia have. The surveyed teens were doing everything from looking at pornography, to cheating on homework, yet parents had no idea.
No invention in the history of human civilization has had more powerful impact on children’s behavior in such a short time as the Internet. The entire range of human behavior, the good, the bad and the ugly, is available to children online. The parents’ job continues to be the same, to manage and control children’s exposure to bad influence. To protect our children as our parents have always done, we need to instill discipline in the children and take part in their activities.
Just as we have taught our children to behave well in public from the time they were young, so should we teach them public behavior in Cyber City. We find almost everything and everyone on the Internet. The children do not only have to be at their behavior, they should also be vigilant about things or people that can harm them now or in the future. It is the responsibility of parents to learn and teach them these things.
The challenge for parents of teens with technology is that they are first generation internet parents. They have to invent ways of protecting their children. These parents have no precedence, and in most cases have no adequate knowledge of computer usage. The technology is here. The children need to be guided. The parents, therefore, have to master the technology in order to be effective.
Parents have to also understand that children are savvy internet users. They can hide their activities from their parents. Children have admitted to accessing simulated violence or violent videos online, content that is rated R. They have admitted to interacting with strangers and even accessed sexual topics and pornography websites. Other children have even gone as far as committing crimes like hacking websites or unauthorized accounts, downloading pirated movies, music and other online content.
Here are some of the things that children use to hide their online activities:
· Use blocking features on social media to block their friended parents
· Clear browser history
· Use computers that parents do not check
· Use mobile devices that have internet enabled
· Use private browsing modes
· Minimize or hide windows when parents are around
· Delete downloaded files as soon as they finish using them
· Create online accounts not known by parents
Knowing some of these tricks used by children, parents should be able to find measures that will enable them protect their children online. As a parent, you can start by googling your child’s name and nickname and find out what you will uncover.
Handle their online transgression with care. Teens are at a time when life is exciting with great potential as well as many lurking dangers. The job of a parent is to balance their independence, ingenuity and opportunities as well as to learn from their mistakes. Use your intuition, and experience to help the children. That is why the hardest job on earth is good parenting.
Elizabeth Asino-Joseph firstname.lastname@example.org