I’m not YET a parent, but one day, when I am, I’ll definitely restrict them from having access to a smartphone or tablet until it’s absolutely necessary. My husband and I don’t intend to buy them these gadgets until we absolutely have to, and even when we do, we’ll be limiting screen time.
While parents try to teach their kids discipline and discernment in real-life situations, another area that needs their attention and guidance is how their children interact online. Since the internet is abound with an interminable supply of information and chances for interaction, parents need to exercise a considerable yet respectful level of control when it comes to their child’s internet usage to protect them from risks present in the World Wide Web.
Just recently, I wrote on U.S. website The Daily Dot about the dangers of Instagram, the shady data mining practices of Facebook involving teens, and a FaceTime bug that lets others eavesdrop on you via your iPhone. I’m not even a parent yet, but I’m terrified for all parents out there who risk exposing their kids to these.
This is a pressing issue especially for a digital native-filled market such as the Philippines. In 2018, a study conducted by international think tank DQ Institute showed that the average Filipino child spends 34 hours per week in front of digital screens for entertainment—two hours higher than the global average. Filipinos aged 8-12 years old are also more exposed to “unhealthy habits of digital usage,” as well as to cyber risks such as cyber bullying and online sexual behavior, as shown by their screen time score of 96, which is lower than the global average of 100.
While there are so many wonders that the internet has brought, there are real dangers when children are left totally unsupervised in their use of it. While there is no denying that the internet has become their go-to hub for information, games, and interaction through social media, parents should always keep their children’s curiosity in check.
It may not be enough to just teach kids about whom to talk to, safety in and out of the home, what to read or watch on TV; parents should also guide their kids when it comes to their online experience. Globe Telecom launched “#Rated PC (Parental Control),” an advocacy to emphasize the importance of parental supervision over children’s internet use among Globe At Home Postpaid subscribers and other Filipino parents and guardians. #Rated PC aims to educate and empower parents to maximize the benefits of their kids’ internet usage through learning and collaboration while minimizing risks and dangers present in the online world. Globe At Home shared some tips for doing so:
Limit screen time
Perhaps limiting kids’ screen time can do the trick, except when it involves real school work. With this, they can learn to manage their screen time efficiently by dividing their allowable time among school assignments, research, play, or simply surfing the web.
Protect their identity and security
Emphasize the importance of protecting their privacy and identity by not giving out personal information like their passwords to unknown sites or digital strangers. More importantly, just as they are taught about “stranger danger” in reality, they must learn that this applies in the online world as well. It’s like teaching them not to divulge their personal information to people they meet for the first time and not going anywhere with a stranger.
While the internet is deemed a source of information, it can also be a platform for mis- or dis-information, which is how the phrase “Fake News” was born. Teach children to check sources and go to credible sites for information. From time to time, kids should be reminded that not everything they see or read online is true.
If the practice of observing courtesy and respect at home, school, or other places is encouraged among children, the same should be done whenever they are online. Children should be taught the basics of exercising courtesy when it comes to communicating online, either with their peers or older individuals, as if they are speaking to one at the other end of the line in person. No vulgar or hurtful words, profanities, body shaming, name calling, cyber bullying, and other hurtful actions should be tolerated.
Activate parental control
Online vigilance is certainly not easy for a parent who already has so many concerns in managing a household and caring for a family. However, there are several options that will help parents with this concern. Internet service providers usually bundle parental control features for their online service.
The TP Link Device, which is bundled especially for Globe At Home Postpaid subscribers, is a great option. It allows parents to easily set up controls for their kids to secure their online experience. With these features, parents and guardians can protect kids from various online threats, safeguard their network from unwanted content, restrict or block access to unsuitable sites, deploy anti-virus software, manage all connected devices, and even enhance WiFi signal inside the home.
For more about Secure WiFi Bundle and other products and services by Globe At Home, visit globe.com.ph.