So your child is a whiz kid who can operate and program anything – the television set, the DVD player, the microwave, your cellular phone, and your computer.
Be ready to play a game of catch up because, for his innate genius, that kid of yours is still just as vulnerable as any child and may still be unaware of the ill effects and dangers posed by the technology he so expertly and so blithely manipulates.
Be ready to set rules – and gently but firmly enforce these rules – for your child’s use of these gadgets and monitor his use of them to ensure his safety and well-being.
Set time limits for the use of the computer, internet, television, and DVD player. Allow your child to surf the internet and use the computer for school requirements like homework – about one to two hours is sufficient for this, inclusive of computers games. Allow TV and DVD viewing on weekends and only after homework is done and limit this to a maximum of two hours.
Be aware of what your child watches on TV and the Internet.
If you are getting cable TV, you can ask your cable service provider to program your account to exclude cable channels you do not want your child watching.
If you already have cable TV, filter out the cable channels you do not want your kids to watch.
Know the web sites your child visits. The internet is literally a deluge of uncontrolled information. Not all data available online may be suitable for your child’s impressionable mind. Check the “history” button to see the web sites last visited by your child and check these sites out.
If you find that your child’s internet surfing is taking him to sites you find objectionable, modify your internet browser’s filters to disallow access to those sites from the PC/gadget your child is using.
If your child does his internet surfing at a computer shop, do not allow him to go there alone. Have one responsible adult or an older sibling accompany the child to monitor his web surfing.
Be mindful of the chat rooms and instant messaging service your child uses (Viber, Whatsapp, Line, etc) if he likes chatting or instant messaging, particularly if he loves using a web cam while doing so. Many adults who like to victimize children take advantage of a child’s trusting nature to lure them through these media.
Top uses for the computer:
1) Studying (46 percent)
2) Gaming (38 percent)
3) Art (nine percent)[pq]If your child is allowed access to e-mail and social networking web sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, be sure to regularly view your child’s homepage.[/pq]
This will help you understand your child better and nip any potential problems in the bud.
Do not allow your child access to sensitive data – such as your bank account and credit-card information and tax records – in your computer hard drive. Create a separate user profile for each family member and encrypting or protect sensitive files with a password’[pq]Be sure you have good internet-security software installed on your computer as well as good firewall protection so no hackers or viruses reach data from your hard drive.[/pq]
Drum into your child the value if having these programs running while he surfs the Internet.
Teach your child the value of signing out when using e-mail and other online services that require logging in and out.
When buying computer-games for your child-whether the games are for PC or game consoles (Playstation, Wii, Xbox) – take note of the mark “E” for their explicit content (language, blood and gore, violence) – these games are often played by teenagers, but are not appropriate for younger children.
When getting your child a cellular phone, get a post-paid line and, if possible, a GPS locator from your telecommunications service provider or buy a phone with GPS already embedded in it and use the locator when your child is not at home.
A post-paid phone bill will list the text messages and calls made to and from your child’s phone, allowing you to screen these phone numbers and see who your child is communicating with.
If you buy your child a portable console game player, check out the labels on the games for these devices. Also teach your child that there is a proper place and time to use these devices – not during school time and in crowded public places.
Top uses for the Internet
1) Research (48 percent)
2) Games (28 percent)
3) Chat (12 percent)