How to guide children in the use of the internet?

One published report towards the end of 2021 by the Internet analysis site We Are Social together with the Hootsuite platform, revealed that this year the global number of Internet users It has risen to more than 220 million compared to 2020.

From that account it was also determined that more than 4 thousand 660 million people around the world are already considered Internet users.

“The Internet is part of everyone’s life. The idea of ​​calling it the virtual world has to do with the fact that it resembles everything that happens in the real world: there you can share, play, learn, and more ”, infers Sol González, security researcher at the IT company ESET .

Given the magnitude and multiple possibilities of the global information network, the specialist points out that people must be aware of everything we do and what happens there. In this sense, it is pertinent that adults take into account how children develop in virtual space, due to the increase in its use.

Luis Fernando Cordón, a systems, informatics and computer science engineer at the Galileo University, points out that since a child has access to a device with internet connection or since playing with a mobile application, this already has the notion of the computer network.

However, says the engineer, the minors “may not fully understand all the content that this network stores,” to which security researcher González adds:

“It may give the feeling that what happens there cannot harm, but everything is real, and although it can help us on a day-to-day basis, there are repercussions that could affect it. Because it is important to consider what children do on the internet, with whom they interact and which sites they visit”Adds González.

Internet is a door to new worlds but also to multiple risks. (Free Press Photo: Shutterstock)

To delve into this issue, it is important that adults understand what the internet is, so transfer the notion to children.

Luis Fernando Cordón points out that each parent or adult in charge of minors you must find a simple way to make him understand what the internet is.

The engineer suggests that one way to explain it may be as “a place where people have entertainment or fun spaces, but caution is necessary because, just as it can be fun, it’s dangerous”.

First approaches to the internet

The approach to the internet is achieved from the use of electronic devices. Sol González points out that, for this, It is recommended that the cell phones, computers or connected tablets used by children are primarily those of their family members.

The engineer Cordón points out that “there is no ideal device for children to start approaching the Internet, but rather It depends on how the elderly know how far the permits can go ”.

Adults should constantly supervise where minors enter and must establish limits on both time and access. Activating parental control tools are essential, says ESET security researcher.

The first devices with an Internet connection used by minors should ideally be their family members. (Free Press Photo: Shutterstock)

As the minors grow, they can already be give greater freedom of use. The idea, González says, is that from a young age get used to recognizing the limits of internet use, accompanied, of course, by the relevant data to the dangers of its use.

“They should be empowered with dialogue, explaining the risks and also the possible consequences of misuse of the internet. It should be noted that during adolescence a parental control is probably not going to work. Internet use habits are built from a young age ”, he adds.

Luis Fernando Cordón points out that several of the risks that could be incurred in misuse of the internet by minors can be seen with the fact that compromise the home network with malware or antimalware infection and even being threatened integrally and sexually.

This last consideration can happen when, for example, minors share sensitive information such as personal and family data. Situations like grooming (online sexual harassment or abuse) can occur if proper guidance is not given and minors are told about the dangers.

recommendations

In addition to clarifying the risks that may exist on the Internet such as information theft and threats from strangers, the Adults should be involved in the way children use the Internet.

It is pertinent to ask them which sites they like or with whom they share on the net. This dialogue, says Sol González, will allow a genuine rapprochement.

“It must be taught that information is valuable and that it must be taken care of, since we do not know who is behind the screens that could be violated”, adds the specialist.

Other keys to guide towards the proper use of the internet in minors recommended by adults are:

  • Tell them that whatever is posted stays there. It is important that they recognize that everything they do or publish will be recorded, so prudence must be exercised.
  • It’s okay to set limits. Parents are in charge of establishing controls – such as filters or even time limits – to protect the care of their children while browsing.
  • Maintain the dialogue. It is important for adults to show a constant interest in their children’s browsing: to know what sites they like, who are their contacts and what they are looking for on the net. This in order to protect them.
  • Promote security. Strong passwords must be maintained, verify that the applications they use are downloaded from official sites, keep devices up to date with backups, and provide content filters.

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