A dad in China hires assassins to kill his son’s avatar! Shocking? Is it?
It was a father’s desperate attempt to end his 23-old’s addiction to online games. The confused son finally asked his co-gamers why his avatar was being targeted so much.
I can’t say how effective this method was, but as parents we share the worry, don’t we? Haven’t we fretted over our children’s online activities one time or the other?
While the internet provides an array of learning opportunities, dangers lurk everywhere. An innocent search can turn up all kinds of unwanted results. But keeping kids away from the internet is no solution either. Here are few tips that can help keep them safe.
1. Be hands-on
Make yourself familiar with not just the web, but all the gadgets your child has access to, like a smart phone or tablet. Be around if not beside your child while he is surfing.
2. Set rules
Set a limit on the amount of time your child spends online. Also, the time of the day is just as important. Her online-time should not coincide with the busiest part of your day.
Make a list of sites that he is allowed access. Stay within a kid-friendly zone like one you are in now. Ensure this list is visible always, for example, stick by the computer. Anything, not on the list should need your approval.
3. Make use of technology
Operating Systems like Windows offer ‘Parental control’ features. This lets you block websites based on content. Mozilla offers similar filtering capabilities. But you may need to keep checking these settings as a smart kid can figure out how to reset them.
Additionally, you can buy software like Spector(www.spectorsoft.com) and CyberPatrol(www.cyberpatrol.com) that will add another layer of protection.
4. Be their friend
Not just on Facebook but in real life too. You should be her ‘goto’ person in case she finds something online she disliked, including unpleasant comments from friends. At the same time, be strict about knowing all passwords, whether email or social networking accounts and login frequently. You’re not snooping, just being a parent.
5. Make them aware
Make the child aware of the online threats. He should know never to give out personal details like name, email, and address without your permission. Even posting a photograph should have your approval.
Just as you teach them to avoid strangers on the streets, teach them that should not open emails from unknown people or accept their chat and friend requests.
Provide your child with lots of other activity and opportunities for social interaction. Encourage them to pick up a hobby or help out with household chores. Nothing like a busy mind to keep away from idle surfing.
For more information go to www.getnetwise.org