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Thursday, March 23, 2017
Parents need not fear the Internet
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¬†The authors of a new book on parenting and the Internet have suggested that mums and dads do not need to panic about the potential dangers their children may face in cyberspace. The disappearance of 12-year-old Shevaun Pennington with a former US marine who befriended her online, has once again raised the fears of parents and what their children might be exposed to through the internet. In the Daily Mail, the chairwoman of Childline, Esther Rantzen, called the disappearance of Shevaun "a 21st century horror story", describing the internet as "the most deviously distorting mirror" and advising parents to learn about it. In a new book: "The Parentalk guide to your child and the Internet", a husband and wife team who are former editors of a dot com enterprise say that there are many easy, sensible, and common-sense decisions that parents can take to minimise internet dangers. Answering the questions most parents ask, the guide aims to provide them with the confidence to work alongside their child in making the most of the Internet. It begins with an introduction to what the Internet is and does, moving on to suggestions for how to choose a service provider, how to share the Internet with your child and how to protect your child and make the net a safe place. It offers a top ten of websites, and goes on to address issues of other technology and the future. Co-author, Jonathan Bartley, said: "Parents are often torn between competing emotions of wanting to give their children access to all the benefits that information technology can bring, but at the same time protect them against many very real and potentially harmful threats that the internet might bring. There are however many simple and straightforward things that parents can do to minimise their children's exposure to cyber-danger" Tips in the book include: - Letting children start to use the internet from as early on in their lives as possible under supervision (at 3 years old they can use a mouse) by sitting with them and performing basic tasks so that they get used to the internet as part of everyday life. - Setting boundaries. This includes talking through with your children what kind of sites you are happy for them to visit and search for, and what kind of activities they should or should not be doing online. - Trying to make the internet a shared, family experience. Taking "cyber trips" with your children for example, discussing what you find online with them, and teaching them to think for themselves about the internet, its opportunities and its dangers. - Putting the computer in a shared family space rather than a bedroom - Teaching your children "netiquette" and basic internet safety, such as not giving out personal details about themselves online. Jonathan and Lucy Bartley were editors of the web portal and Internet Service Provider which raises money for churches and charities. Jonathan is now director of the think-tank Ekklesia and Lucy works with teenage parents in South London. They have two children. "The Parentalk Guide to Your Child and the Internet" is published by Hodder and Stoughton, price £5.99 Source: Ekklesia
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