Internet security: where are the dangers lurking for children?

Internet security: Where are dangers lurking for children?

Curse or blessing? Opinions differ on the subject of the Internet. On the one hand, the network provides access to immense knowledge resources, on the other hand, it carries dangers that cannot be correctly assessed by children.

The Internet – a curse or a blessing? | © .com / Squaredpixels

Parents learn from children: digital generation

Is your child online two to three times a week or even daily? Then this media time corresponds to the national average. In a few years, the Internet has developed from a niche medium to one of the most popular mass media in the Federal Republic.

While older people in particular are still at war with computers and the Internet, most children use the medium much more naturally. According to the 2014 KIM study, a long-term study on the media use of children, 63 percent of the surveyed children between the ages of six and 13 stated that they surfed the Internet at least rarely.

Considering how early children come into contact with modern communication technology today, it is not surprising that some parents can teach their children how to use the computer. There are many indications that the trend towards media education, which begins earlier and earlier, will continue.

Dealing with the Internet too lightly carries dangers

With all confidence in the skills of our children, it should not be forgotten, however, that the virtual space carries dangers that are not correctly assessed by children, but can have very real consequences. It would be a fallacy to equate technical operating skills with media skills.

The most common sources of danger on the Internet

A cross-border series of studies by the European Union on risks and security on the Internet outlines and evaluates the following key issues on the web. The most important sources of danger in dealing with the Internet exist in the excessive use, in confrontation with pornographic material, in the spread erotic images of your own body (sexting), in the Cyber-bullying and in the real meeting of online contacts.

41% of the German children aged between 9 and 16 surveyed reported that they had already been exposed to at least one risk factor from the categories mentioned on the Internet (see Cross-national comparison of risks and safety on the internet; EU kids online 2011).

The media are often only the dark side of the Internet

Security comes first: Where dangers lurk on the Internet © journalist

The examples which Effects of just a few clicks on the Internet went through the media. Facebook parties in the front yard, financial ruin through illegal music downloads, Pedophile in child chat – The media paint a one-sided picture of the Internet as a lion’s den, in which our children threaten to degenerate, be seduced or misused. People like to report on bizarre individual cases that have little in common with the experience horizon of most Internet users. The statistical probability that a Facebook party will take place in your own front yard is less than suffocating after swallowing a pen particle.

Every year, 300 people have been shown to die from a ballpoint pen particle, and yet nobody would think of seriously putting ballpoint pen sales on the media agenda.

The other side is often neglected in reporting, namely information about websites where children can surf safely, on which verified media content is available, and information about how surfing can generally be made safer.

One thing is certain: Yes, violations of the protection of minors are committed every day on the Internet and broken applicable law. No, it is not inevitable to become a victim of Internet threats. You can protect yourself and your children against them. And especially in the area of ​​prevention, there are still many open construction sites.

The best protection against dangers on the Internet: create awareness

Moving around the Internet, like all human behavior and actions, carries dangers that cannot be completely excluded. However, it would be an exaggerated and, moreover, hopeless measure to drastically restrict or even prohibit our children’s Internet use. The far more effective alternative for parents to act is to raise children’s awareness of the problem, to provide the children with rules and instructions, to make the framework in which Internet surfing takes place as safe as possible and a culture of openness to maintain.

There are many options here that can be used simply and pragmatically to minimize the risk of negative or even traumatic experiences on the Internet.

Verbally agreed resolutions are sometimes quickly thrown overboard. To prevent this, it is best to give your child one when they start using the Internet independently Parent-child contract. That may sound drastic, but a document signed by the child and parents, like our smartphone contract, encourages it Talk about the risks, helps together To establish rules and underlines the seriousness of these agreements.

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Christina Cherry
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