According to the Norton Online Family Report (June 2010) 62% of children worldwide have had a negative experience online. Not surprisingly, according to the report, there is an emotional impact on children when they have a negative experience. “One third of children feel anger, upset, fear and worry. One fifth of children feel embarrassed and live with online regret.” The report states “Children feel increasing levels of responsibility for their negative experiences online,” whether from responding to an online/email scam, receiving a sexual image, seeing violent/nude images or downloading a virus to their computer.
How do we protect and teach kids to avoid having negative experiences online? These negative and potentially emotionally harmful experiences can be prevented with proper oversight by parents. Many parents are unaware of what their children are doing online yet the report indicates that children would actually welcome more parental involvement in their online lives. So let’s “Get in the Know” parents! Know what your kids are doing online and be there for your kids when they run into trouble.
It’s so easy for your child to get into dangerous territory or serious trouble with one wrong click. It’s your job to pay attention, teach and intervene as necessary. Talking with your child and allowing your child to express their feelings if they’ve had a negative experience is so important. The internet should not be separate from the rest of your day to day parenting. Remember the internet and the offline world is one and the same for kids today. Parents need to be part of that world too.