‘The internet has been a boon and a curse for teenagers’ -J.K. Rowling
The internet is an incredibly useful tool, which gives us access to all the information we could ever need. But it is also dangerous if not used in the correct way. It is very important that children are aware of the dangers of using the internet, particularly concerning the use of social media.
Issues that children need to be aware of are as follows:
- cyber bullying- ‘The use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.’ Many children are not aware that they are being bullied because cyber bullying is not physical, however it is still bullying and can have catastrophic consequences.
- hackers- ‘A person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.’ This about making children aware of what kind of information is acceptable to put online.
- online predators- ‘Adult online users who seek to exploit vulnerable children or adolescents for sexual or other abusive purposes.’ Often predators will hide behind another persons identity, claiming be to someone they are not. Children need to be aware of the dangers of speaking to strangers online, it can lead to serious problems such as grooming.
- inappropriate content- ‘Whether it is pornography, lewd music, obscenities, or any other type of influence which parents wish to shield their children from.’ Although the internet gives children access to millions of resources, not all of them are beneficial to the child. Parents need to ensure that their children do not have access to inappropriate content online.
- damaged reputations- ‘posting images or other content which will haunt children for a long time.’ Sending or receiving inappropriate images, videos or messages can have a colossal impact on an individual in the long term. The internet is a big place, and after sending something it is impossible to get it back again. Children must be aware that who ever they send media to, can also forward it on to others.
- excessive gaming- ‘An excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games, which interferes with a person’s everyday life.’ Spending too much time playing computer games will effect a child’s development as well as their social life.
- identity theft- ‘The crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person for the sole purpose of assuming that person’s name or identity in order to make transactions or purchases.’ Identity theft can also be used to talk to others online by hiding your own identity. Therefore it is very important that before becoming ‘friends’ which someone online you know who they are.
Some young children are vulnerable to other users online, as they not aware of how to use the internet in a safe fashion.
Relevant links and resources:
In this review of internet safety, it clear to see that children and parents are becoming more aware of the dangers of using the internet. Children are developing skills which will enable them to stay safe whilst using the internet and social media. It refers to the work of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), and how it has helped to improve the knowledge that children have concerning safety online.