Do your children surf the Internet safely? Eva Martin,journalist and expert in new technologies, she reveals some risks that children are exposed to online.
Together with Juan F. Marcelo she is co-author of "Protect your children from the risks of the Internet and other technologies", a book aimed especially at parents in which advice is offered to ensure the safety of their children surf the Internet or use other technologies in a safe way, without representing any danger, risks and threats for children.
From what age it is advisable for children to have access to the Internet.
There is no fixed age, nor should we consider the Internet as a single and absolute whole. There are age-appropriate Internet sites. Younger children should only navigate through the safe portals offered by the authorities and prestigious organizations, for example, Chaval.es or Pequenet.com.
The fundamental advice for parents is that they never let their son or daughter navigate without having previously activated the browser's content filter.
What can parents do to help their children surf the Internet safely?
Security right now is not so much a matter of money as of desire. It is possible to contract content filters and antivirus from the Internet access provider, but this way the educational component of installing and configuring the filters is lost, while explaining to the children their usefulness and the reason why a web page is bad.
What contents are the most recommended for children?
They should use only those web pages recommended for their age, preferably those that have the active supervision of adults with notions of pedagogy. As for video games, there is the PEGI age rating, which is listed on the game package.
Furthermore, a PEGI filtering can be established from the parental control of the operating system; thus, a game that is older than the set age cannot be installed on the computer.
What risks can emails and social media pose for a child?
Both email and messaging can be used by both malicious adults and classmates to engage in harassment of all kinds. There are already cases of children and adolescents who have committed suicide after suffering in silence for months that harassment.
In social networks, minors can find sexual predators, extremist groups and even terrorists looking for victims and acolytes. The bad thing about social networks is that they facilitate contact between minors and the worst, between adults.
Under what circumstances should a mobile phone be given to children. Necessary?
Family and social circumstances determine the degree of need for a mobile phone for a particular child. Of course, it is the obligation of parents to teach them that they should never give their phone number (or that of their friends) to strangers, not even in exchange for gifts.
Ideally, parents are looking for a contract that allows restricting incoming and outgoing numbers.
What characteristics should a children's mobile phone have?
Health authorities in various countries, such as the United Kingdom or Denmark, advise against the use of a mobile phone before the age of sixteen, because the effects of mobile radiation on a growing brain have not yet been sufficiently studied.
If, despite this, parents want their children to have a mobile phone, they will have to try to opt for the simplest and most age-appropriate model. It is also advisable to deactivate those features that favor anonymous and indiscriminate contact such as Bluetooth.
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