Today we live in a digital world where a large portion of our activity is online. From communication and business, to shopping and banking, the internet has become a part of everyday life. Unfortunately, our children are becoming fluent internet users, and this can negatively impact their safety, mental health and social life. Controlling your child’s internet usage is important in creating a safe and balanced life. IKydz aims to help parents communicate with, protect and educate their children.
Why is it important to protect your child online?
The internet is a great space for children to communicate, learn and play. However, children are often exposed to inappropriate content, and are not equipped to protect themselves from online danger. Without sufficient online restrictions, children can easily access content such as pornography, over 18’s movies, and other inappropriate media. Your child would not be allowed into an over 18’s movie if they were underage, so why should they have access to these movies online?
Children are a target for online predators, particularly within gaming apps. Our recent blog post (available here) discusses how gaming apps such as Roblox can expose your child to online predators. Children are often unaware of these predatory behaviours, so it is important to educate and protect them from these dangers.
Mental Health Effects
In a story in The Atlantic, Psychologist Jean Twenge describes how the current ‘digital’ generation are suffering greatly from mental health issues (available here). Twenge states that:
“It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades”.
She says that the mental health problems amongst teens are closely tied with social media, internet and mobile phone use. Twenge says:
“Today’s teens are just not spending as much time with their friends in person, face-to-face, where they can really read each others’ emotions and get that social support. And we know from lots and lots of research that spending time with other people in person is one of the best predictors for psychological well-being and one of the best protections against having mental health issues.” (available here)
Children and teenagers can be immature and often do not think of the consequences of their actions. In a study posted by BreakingNews.ie (available here) it was discovered that 25% of teens aged 15-18 in the study have shared sexual images of themselves online. 1 in 10 of these teenagers had their images shared online without their consent, and almost have of these teenagers did not tell anyone. Unfortunately, this is the reality for many teenagers using social media. It is important to educate your child about the consequences of inappropriate behaviours online, and prevent them from taking part in these inappropriate interactions.
How can you protect your child from these problems?
Communication, education and internet restriction is the key solution to protecting your child’s online safety and well being. In an article by the Irish Times (available here) a parent discusses how using a Parental Controller App on their child’s phone has benefited both child and parent. The parent says:
“But, miraculously, the daily arguments about phone use have ceased – or, at least, significantly decreased. Instead of a seemingly never-ending argument over whether it was five or 50 minutes since she last looked at the device, phone use is set to restricted times and time limits. Everyone knows what the rules are.”
Controlling your child’s internet usage can create balance within and outside of the home. As mentioned previously, children who use social media for longer periods of time often feel more lonely, and can be subject to mental health issues. By limiting their online time, you can increase their mental health and well-being.
As well as limiting their online time, protecting your children from inappropriate content, online predators and inappropriate behaviour is a problem parents face in the digital age. Controlling your child’s access to certain websites, videos and apps is important to protect children from the dangers online.
Ikydz creates balance online and protects your child from the dangers of the internet.
Creating a digital balance is extremely important in ensuring happiness for both parent and child. With IKydz, our aim is to help parents find that balance. It is important for parents to be aware that internet usage and technology is a growing part of everyday life, so we need to be aware of the dangers online, and protect our children from them. Completely stopping your child from using social media is not the answer. However, restricting access to sites, creating offline schedules on your child’s device, and blocking inappropriate games and sites can ensure balance and protection for your child online.