Dilemma about protecting your child from the danger of social networking sites -
Recently, social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace has become very popular among the teens and they have taken these sites as parched land does to rain. Teens take a perverse delight being in this virtual world, interacting and socializing, with one another. But there is another element to this – there are certain
potential dangers like internet child predators, cyber bullies, hackers, spammers are also a part of this online traffic. Now, the question that arises is how to protect your youngster from falling a prey to these unwelcome groups or dangers? It is true that the right values should be installed in the children in their formative years. You have the liberty, as a parent, to go on your way and ask your child not to venture in these sites. But stop for a while and give it a second thought on the pretext whether it is going to work? Of course not! Certainly, you need to deal with the situation calmly and with a cool and level head. So now, you must be thinking how you can you aptly do so without making much fuss about it. Do not worry! You only need to spare some time and approach the situation in a well organized way. Your primary aim should be to hammer out that zero draft which concerns your child the most. Here are some effective but simple ways through which you can help your child to use social networking sites safely:
1. Educate yourself and get prepared
First, you need to educate yourself about the sites in which your child is a member. Next, you need to evaluate the site and find out if the site is monitored, moderated and updated regularly. A well regulated and monitored site is less likely to cause any sort of harm to our child but this is not always a guarantee. Beware of what your child is posting and how much time he/she is spending on these sites on a given day. This is just like doing your homework regularly so that you have a through knowledge about your subject. Of course, your subject here is your child.
2. Educate your child not to give personal information
A child could hardly realize the difference between an online world and an offline world. Their innocent minds live in the world of fantasy and dreams. So they may end providing vital details about themselves and about their parents online. Here, you need to play a vital role and explain to your child that certain important details should never be shared with anyone online. These details include sharing one's full name, telephone number, email ids, credit card details, home address etc.
3. Explain your child the need to set one's profile to private
One of the greatest features of social networking sites is that they provide you with the option to customize and set your profile page to private. You need to explain and guide your child about it. You can explain to your child that this option is given by the sites so that one can only allow the people whom they know to gain access the details about their profiles. In this way, any unknown person cannot access the personal information and misuse it. You can also do this, by demonstrating it in front of your child, how your profile is set to private so that only the person whom you know may access your account.
4. Discuss online activities
Build a good relationship with your child and discuss with him/her about her regular activities. While discussing his/her offline activities make it sure to discuss his/her online activities. You may ask questions like what they love doing most while being online? How many friends they have? How many new friends they have made? Who is their best friend etc?
5. Make clear cut rules
You can also make a clear cut rule which is definitely going to help the cause. Make it sure that your child lets you know if he/she feels like posting certain crucial details like photographs, mobile numbers etc. Besides, when your child is about to join some new site make it sure that he/she ask you about the same. In this way, you are going to cut down half of the troubles and rest assure in the peace of mind.
6. Be with your child in chat sessions
Be sure to make yourself available when your child chats with someone unknown. Sure, your child may not like this idea to start with. But when you make it a habit to be with your child and could win his/her trust this becomes quite easy. If you show keen interest in your child activities, he/she won't mind your presence in the long run. Being with your child and showing interest in his/her work and regular activities are going to make things transparent and clean between the two of you.
7. Keep the computer in a busy area
You know the famous proverb, an empty mind is a devil's workshop. Therefore, you need to think and capitalize on it. Make sure to place the computer in the busy area of your house or flat rather than in the room of your child. This will ensure two things: First, it will keep your child away from any inappropriate activities and second you can keep an eye over the activities of your child. This will definitely work for the safety of your child.
8. Ask if your child is uncomfortable
As a caring parent, you are the one who is going to be aware if your child is in any problem. You can observe it in your child's behaviour and characteristics. If you are suspicious about anything, you need to ask your child if he/she is comfortable or if everything is going right for your child. Normally, in uncomfortable situations, children have a tendency to hide everything from their parents. They do so because they fear that if they disclose such thing they might be in problems. Hence, build such a positive image in front of your child, that he/she might think that you are the one who could solve their problems without making much fuss about it.
9. Track the surfing habit of your child
Yes, you have read it right. You can keep a track about the sites your child is visiting regularly. You can do so effortlessly by clicking the history of the browser that your child uses while surfing. Similarly, you can keep a track about the mail addresses your child is sending and receiving males. You can do these simple things yourself or you can take someone's help in this regard. Finally, you need to remember that you need to do these without your child.
10. Take the help of technology and software’s
Thanks for the development in technology. There is much software that is available in the market today that will check the activities of your child online. This software’s can also prevent your child from sharing any crucial personal information online. Besides, some internet providers also give this parental control software by charging some nominal fee. It's high time for the parents group to take the help of these software’s to check the activities of their youngsters.
Conclusion on the dangers of social networking sites
Protecting your youngsters from the dangers of social networking sites is like a big challenge to you now. Well, to those of you think on similar lines, I will say that these are some of the efficient and easy ways to protect your child online. It's high time for you now to be aware about your child's surfing habits, online friends, their email contacts etc and take timely and calculated steps to reap the maximum benefits. You can also follow some of your own innovative methods which you think will be very helpful to protect your child. You just need to be alert and keep your eyes open and remain vigilant about the possible dangers which could affect your child. Finally, the better you are aware of these dangers the better you will be able to safeguard the interest of your child. So arise today and take the timely steps, if you think that your child could be a victim of the online threats of these social networking sites.