Having recently become a dad myself, you tend to spend a lot more time around children and other parents and it becomes quite clear that kids these days have a lot of access to the internet. The internet itself is not dangerous to kids per se, but there are a lot of factors and bad faith players that target kids and their magical sense of wonder. This means the job falls to us as parents to protect the little ones from the dangers of the internet.
The are a new generation growing up and as the generation before them, they are often referred to as “digital citizens”, as they have never had a life without technology and they probably never will. This means that part of keeping them safe, is to keep yourself safe and that means learning more about computers and teaching it to your child. It also has another great side effect, in that almost every job today uses computers in one form or another, from Smiths to Lawyers and it will give your kid a leg up in any career they choose.
The best mentality you can have to keep your kid safe is the mentality of “don’t talk to strangers”, it applies rather well to the internet, but in a slightly different way. It’s like telling your kids to say something when a creepy person is hanging around their school or someone offers them candy for something. On the internet it is just YouTube video’s where clips seem out of place, people they don’t know contacting them om social media or people they do know acting strange online.
You have probably heard of some of the cases I mentioned, but in case you haven’t there have been quite a few cases with media targeted towards kids with subliminal messages or just hateful content. The same goes for pedophiles who have moved their hunt online, which makes it even easier because they can search for children in their area and they can remain even more anonymous than previously. This also brings me to some of the previous articles I have written with people as security, as they outline a lot of the issues that is worth learning about yourself and subsequently teaching your child.
The most important thing to remember as a parent though, is to relax and do the best you can. Even if you do everything in your power to protect them, odds are that some of the bad stuff will seep through, which is okay, we are only human after all. So stay calm and try to teach computers to your kids in a calm and fun fashion. A good option would be something like Scratch, which is programming, but with building blocks, kind of like playing with LEGO.