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Netiquette:Think Before You Click

Netiquette:Think Before You Click

With all the many negative things the internet is being used for many adults are being forced to believe that the internet is an evil tool being introduced to counter the very things they teach their children against.

Though there is some truth about the harmful things children are exposed to on the internet, rebelling against its use is not the way to go because there are many things that can be learnt and unlearnt via the use of the internet.

In addressing the issue of child safety online, some parents come up with very strict legislative to regulate or control their children’s use of the internet. Sadly, this ends up being counterproductive. I am sure most parents know that the more you try to prevent a child from doing something without letting them know why, they spend all their time finding ways to outwit your laws. Instead of preventing children from using the internet or going online (which is highly impossible)it will be rather worthwhile to teach children about the etiquette of using the internet-netiquette and  letting them understand the need to think before clicking.

Most of the dangers that children are exposed to online pertains to their safety and privacy-they are exposed to inappropriate images or content, solicitation by sexual predators, online bullying, and inappropriate disclosure of personal information.

Children should therefore be taught about the dangers of being exposed to the aforementioned and how to deal with them. They should be warned against posting personal information online, sending nude images and putting up their locations, for example online. Recently, children are fond of putting up their exact locations with statuses such as ‘finally I get to be home alone. My parents are away on a day’s trip. Any suggestions about what to do?’

This child clearly does not know the danger such a status puts him in. Although teaching about netiquette is helpful, the following can be initiated to ensure total safety of children online.

Proxies and software that can block specific sites and protocols (including anti-virus protection, email spam filters, pop-up blockers, anti-spyware, cookie deletion software, etc. should be activated.

Content filtering software which finds and blocks specific content or websites should be installed and configuration options which ensure online privacy and monitoring features (e.g., Google SafeSearch filter, Privolock) should also be activated.

By applying these safety measures in addition to netiquette and thinking before you click, children should be safer online.

January 11, 2019

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