How to protect children and teenagers on the internet?
By Dane Avanzi
Blue Whale, Momo Doll and now the Goofy Man. It is not just today that children and adolescents are exposed to the dangers of the internet – or, rather, adults who take advantage of the network’s wide possibilities to spread hatred and violence. Criminals already have well-known tactics: under the pretext of inviting young people to a game or challenge, they induce self-harm and even suicide.
According to the TIC Kids Online Brasil 2019 survey, 15% of children and adolescents aged 9 to 17 saw some type of sexual content on the internet. The exposure can be even more perverse: 18% of Internet users aged 11 to 17 years received messages of sexual content, and 11% of this age group have already been asked to send a photo or video in which they appeared naked.
Offenses were also studied. More than 30% of girls and almost 25% of boys have been treated offensively on the internet. Among them, 12% were between 9 and 10 years old. Only one in ten told a friend of the same age and 9%, to parents or guardians. The study also shows that 7% said they had already been discriminated against on the network, the main reason being color or race, followed by physical appearance, because they like people of the same sex or even for religious reasons.
Nowadays, interaction with cell phones and tablets occurs from a very early age. Facing the most varied rate of violence at that age, when the individual is still in training and knowing the world around him, can cause serious psychological damage, such as trauma and difficulties in relating to others.
Therefore, it is the duty of parents to monitor the content that children and adolescents access. On every device, there are features that allow you to block explicit content. Social networks also deserve attention. It is important to check for suspicious messages and maintain a clear dialogue with the child about how they should not communicate with strangers on the networks.
Responsibility is strict. Internet access time limits should be set – the younger, the less time. It is also highly recommended to target the use of enriching content for the formation of the individual, such as drawings or educational websites. In case of doubt, a consultation with professionals in the field or specialized psychologists is always worthwhile.
Another important point is that digital education is already something that should be incorporated into families. Parents need to educate their children on how to behave on the internet, given that what is written is public and is recorded indefinitely. I have experience conducting training on digital etiquette and, there, we affirm that it is a good idea not to debate controversial topics, especially when you are young, still in training, as the consequences are not always so predictable.
Now, with classes suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more children and teenagers are using the internet. Therefore, parental attention must be doubled. It is important to monitor the EAD, the tasks that are being proposed, establish an open dialogue with the children so that they feel safe to share something that may have bothered them. Thus, we can create a safer and more respectful environment for all ages.
Source: [Diário do grande ABC]