I remember when I was 13 the things were way different and there was not so much tech bandwagon going on. In the name of electronic gadget or game all I wanted was an 8-bit cassette game console (which I eventually got after a lot of nudging and a little whining). However, times have changed and now the kinds want iPhones and laptops. And no, they don’t want these gadgets just for playing games and stuff. They are actually making the most of the internet and making profiles and accounts on websites they don’t even really know much about. The kids of today are communicating with friends (and even strangers) on popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Omegle (which is not really a social site but is quite notorious for its anonymous chatting system) etc. Is this all safe for your kids? No way!
So what’s actually going on?
Apparently whopping 38% of the overall users on Facebook alone are the minors (under 13) according to minor monitor. Since Facebook allows just anyone with a valid email address to make an account on the site, the minors don’t have any problem in making one. You will be surprised to know that among every 1000 kids on Facebook about 40 are 6 year olds or even younger!
Do you know which people are on your kid’s Facebook friend list? Do you have any idea what kind of strangers your daughter is chatting to these days? Doesn’t it develop a concern in you? Well, sure it does and the good thing is that even Facebook is aware of all this concern among the parents and in response to that it is kicking out more than 20,000 users which are underage every day (Source: CNN). Facebook is also working on some features which will enable the parents to keep an eye of their kid’s activities on Facebook by linking their own Facebook accounts with theirs.
Facebook is full of people and groups you wouldn’t want your kids to interact with (at least until they attain a considerable age or Facebook improves the privacy features for kids). Thus, as a responsible mother or father you must check out if your kids have accounts there and do the needful.
When Facebook is no good for kids, are there any sites where they can make healthy networks?
Yes, there indeed are some good websites where your kids can develop healthy bonds with other children and at the same time they can extend the boundaries of their ken and knowledge. Here are a few such sites-
Taking everloop for instance, as you will just take a look at the homepage of this website you will immediately feel that the site is so welcoming is kid-friendly. There are games, music stuff, and other interesting content which is aptly put there for your kids. In the parents’ home section you would find informative articles and links which would help you know what’s happening between the kids and internet these days. All these links and articles would help you to take care of your child and making him use internet safely.
Yoursphere has to say at homepage “You’ve landed at Yoursphere, the kids’ social network where kids and teens can play safely and parents don’t need to worry. We offer kid-appropriate activities and interest forums. And we discourage bullying and reward good citizenship. It’s kids-only and it’s free, so come on in!”. How about that? Even Commonsensemedia has rated the site with 4 stars on a scale of 5 on the basis of factors like positive messages, safety and privacy. Are you convinced now? If still not then you can check out the site and see for yourself.
On my final note, I would just say that internet is not actually a dangerous place for your kids. In fact, it is a great source of information and a great place to have fun. However, to preserve safety and privacy of your kids you just need to keep an eye on them and on what they are doing in the realm of World Wide Web and occasionally let them know the do’s and don’t’s of it. If you would follow these simple things then no one can stop your kid from putting a really good use to internet.