How to know if your children are ready to surf the Internet
Social networks, video on demand platforms, online games ... The Internet is an inexhaustible source of knowledge and entertainment. Children increasingly access the network sooner, and no one is impressed to see children under 2 years browse from a tablet or from the mobile device of their parents. In fact, according to a recent UNICEF report, 1 out of every 3 Internet users are children. But, what is the age at which the youngest should start surfing the Internet?
There is no age that determines the access of children to the Internet. "When they are very young, it is not appropriate to use it to calm the child if he is angry, to entertain him if he is bored, to eat, or as a reward to do some task ... At an early age it is necessary to limit as much as possible its use, stimulating instead the child through the game and the experimentation with the environment ", affirms the psychologist Ana Herrero, psychologist and coordinator of the guidance department of the Brains International Schools group.
Then, progressively, you can teach how to use the internet properly and responsibly. "Technology can enrich the learning process, stimulate many cognitive functions and promote intellectual development, but the important thing is that they never access without supervision or supervision of responsible adults," adds Ana Herrero.
However, children under the age of thirteen should never access the Internet without the supervision of their parents or an adult, who can guide their steps in the network, paying attention to the type of content they consume. "It is very helpful in this supervision to activate the parental controls," says the psychologist.
5 signs to know if you are ready to surf the Internet
1. Is it able to differentiate between true and false content? The Internet is synonymous with information, but not knowledge. Many of the contents that circulate through the network are of low quality and even totally false. It is vital that children learn to identify the most reliable sources of information and learn to question those contents that come from strange sources.
2. Do you know the dangers of the Internet? The network is full of good initiatives such as awareness campaigns or solidarity initiatives. However, minors must be aware that there are real predators with bad intentions on the Internet. If the child knows the dangers of the network, he will navigate more cautiously.
3. Do you provide personal or private information to strangers? Name, surnames, postal addresses, photographs and telephone numbers are very sensitive data and sharing them with the wrong person can entail a great risk. Children should understand that this type of data should not be provided to any stranger in the network.
4. Do you ask for help if you feel harassed or someone bothers you? Bullying through the Internet and social networks is becoming more frequent. It is important to talk with the children about who they talk to on the Internet and to tell them that in case someone is bothering them they should inform an adult.
5. How much time do you spend surfing the Internet? There is a clear difference between use, abuse and Internet addiction. In the vast majority of children there is an abuse towards this tool and it is necessary to establish a number of hours or hours to access the network. If children use the Internet, but also develop other activities outside the network such as reading, drawing, or doing sports, we can know if they have a good relationship with the Internet.
It is important that children learn to surf the Internet because it is already part of our social reality. It is not a matter of prohibiting children from accessing it, but of guiding and educating them in its use.
Marisol Nuevo Espín
Advice: Ana Herrero, psychologist and coordinator of the Guidance Department of the Brains International Schools group.