Parenting 101: Children and the internet
Updated: Nov 18, 2019
Alcohol and drugs are easy to police as a parent. The internet, however, is not as simple. Our children do require access, and if used correctly, be highly beneficial. As parents, the rules are unclear. And if you are not technologically savvy, how would you go about monitoring their access to the internet. Desktops, laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. You have come to the right place; this is our very first blog about technology and parenting. We will discuss a few focus topics you can consider and implement an excellent policy in your household for your children to access the internet.
No laptops. Just desktops.
This may be difficult to digest, but hear us out. Especially in your home, laptops are for parents. You can install the best parenting control software in the market, and there will be a YouTube video on how to bypass it. Any laptop with Windows or macOS installed should only be used in a shared living space.
Desktops are the perfect solution since it is immovable if set up correctly. Installing a desktop in a study space or the corner of the living room would discourage risky behaviors. Risky behaviors in our part are not necessarily pornographic websites; what we are more concerned with is the dark web. It is relatively easy to get a start on accessing the dark web using Tor Browser. And from this browser, they may be able to gain access to drugs, weapons and worst of all, other hackers.
Hackers do like taking on recruits and may start grooming your child who has access to the internet via a laptop in their room. The same thing does apply for desktop; your child should never have a desktop installed inside their bedroom. It's a moot point.
The dark web
There is much confusion about the dark web; it is not all pedophilia, guns, and drugs. These are privately hosted websites that anyone can access if you know the correct domain or IP address. It can be explained merely as websites that you cannot find on google.
These could range from just an ordinary private website that talks about something very political for countries with little freedom of speech. That is an excellent application for a dark site. Here are other a few other examples
Forums where they discuss and share very gory videos.
Online shops that accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment.
Hacker community sites
Purchasing counterfeit notes
Purchasing drugs and firearms
Buying credit card information
Niche pornographic sites (pedophilia, bestiality, etc.)
Children make mistakes as they grow up, and we must forgive them.
On the other hand, getting in trouble with the law is detrimental to their future. Should they take part in defacing a government website via hacking, the consequences could be life-altering. As parents, it is our job to prevent that from happening.
Mobile whenever possible
Great alternatives to computers (desktops and laptops) are mobile devices, in particular, iOS and Android devices. Mobile operating systems are virtually unhackable, especially when you have a parental control application running on it. These apps are easy to install, run, and secure. They will monitor and prevent any installation of new applications. Some allow you to approve or disapprove new app installs remotely and watch every link, video, and website your child has been.
Yes, there are schools out there, some private ones even that insist your child has a laptop. A good workaround for such a scenario would be to negotiate a tablet with a keyboard and mouse. We don't think schools should ever insist on installing software on your child's laptop. We don't see why that is necessary. But some schools do emphasize.
There are Microsoft Office applications on mobile devices, so they can use a mouse and keyboard compatible with their tablets to do their work. And research information on the web.
You must, as a parent, learn about technology and the dangers that come with it. For example, if one of your children is particularly inquisitive, and has a thousand questions for you each day. Rather than be annoyed, you could empower your child and teach them how to use google voice or Siri or Alexa to find the answer. And for children who know how to write, they can type out their questions in search engines. Their minds are sponges and allowing them to educate themselves with facts will place them ahead of the curve.
Children react to encouragement and should be allowed to make their own mistakes. And some mistakes bear too huge a cost. For example, if you allow your child to play with fire only to learn how dangerous it is when they get burns on their skin. That is too permanent and traumatic. The same thing goes for the dark web; even youths can end up in juvenile detention. There is no coming back from that psychologically.
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