As mothers, it’s often tempting to control every aspect of our children’s lives to make sure they are safe, healthy, and happy. However, this is not the best approach, and we need to also let them develop naturally through freedom.
Before the internet, there was a solid blueprint for successful parenting. Mothers had a better idea of how much autonomy to give their children and what to be strict about. The internet, however, is an expansive and ever-changing realm. This makes it hard to know exactly how best to protect our kids online.
Recent Legislation Highlights the Dangers of the Internet
Sometimes it’s easy for us mothers to forget the risks involved with the online world. There’s a vast amount of content out there that could be harmful to children and teenagers, with pornography being a prime example.
Because of the ease of access to pornographic content online, Louisiana recently mandated identification verification for adult websites. A report from PIA discusses how this is intended to protect youngsters from this content. However, it argues that this is a stretch too far in the privacy debate. It gives governments too much power over people’s data.
It’s clear that something more does need to be done, but this could be achieved by helping to educate parents. According to a survey from Pew Research Center, 81 percent of US parents are concerned about the content their children may encounter online.
Another shocking piece of research reported by the Children’s Commissioner found that 64 percent of children between 16-21 have seen porn online. In addition to this problem, there are other concerns. For instance, cyberbullying has been a pertinent issue in the age of the internet, with one in three teenagers having experienced online harassment.
What Can Mothers do to Protect Their Children?
There are numerous methods that we as mothers can employ to ensure that we do our part to protect our children. With the right measures in place at home, there’s no need for the government to step in with new legislation.
The first stage of educating children about the proper use of the internet should come in setting clear boundaries and rules. This can include limiting screen time, regularly checking what they are viewing, and asking them to report back to you after they have finished an internet session.
There are also parental controls that we can use. This can include blocking certain websites or tracking activity. It can work well for parents of younger children, but older teenagers may know ways around these protocols.
It could be helpful to also talk openly with our children about serious issues online. This can involve discussing the importance of protecting personal information, avoiding risky online behavior, and speaking up if they encounter anything that makes them uncomfortable.
The internet is growing, and our children probably know more about it than we do. However, it is still our responsibility to ensure that they are browsing safely. By putting a few rules in place and talking openly with them, we can limit the risks.