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Cyber-parenting

RADHIKA SOUNDAR

The Internet not only opens up a whole world of opportunities, but also danger.

Photo: H. Vibhu

On the Net: Is your child safe?

The Internet opens a world of possibilities. It offers opportunities for learning, constructive entertainment, and personal growth. It expands their horizons and exposes them to different cultures and ways of life. However, they are also exposed to dangers. Many real world hazards like bullying, threats, and predators have migrated to the Cyberspace. And parents need to be concerned about the risks kids face online.

Cyber-parenting is not different from regular parenting. Just as we would not allow our children to wander around aimlessly, or speak to strangers, or spend too much time playing in the real world; the same things done in the cyber world also should not be encouraged. Just as we emphasise discipline, and accountability in the real world, so too we must do with respect to the cyber-world.

The author is a paediatric counsellor practising in Chennai. Email: radhika_soundar@yahoo.com

Some rules

Do not give out personal information.

Tell parents right away if you come across any information that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Never agree to get together with someone you “meet” online

Never send personal or family pictures.

Sit with the kids and set up rules for going online like the time of day that child can be online, the length of time he/she can be online and appropriate areas/sites for children to visit.

Do not give out Internet password to anyone (even my best friends) other than parents.

Check with parents before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt our computer or jeopardize the family’s privacy.

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