By Nik Butler
A little detour from the usual Horsham topic this week, but fret not, I am still talking about the internet.
I am a parent whose children are now able to navigate a keyboard and to find their way with a mouse-click or joy-pad button press for their entertainment, and I am in a good position in having a clear understanding of how the internet, and communities on the internet, work.
I take the view that I am responsible for my child’s internet habits just as if I were sitting in a cafe or any other public space.
I have three rules which I expect them to remember and I ask them to repeat these most months; this is more for the sake of the nine-year-old than the four, but the rules will remain the same.
The first is that they should never share password or account information with their friends; there is no good reason to give their BFF information about how they log on to anything.
The second is that they should never accept any account or access information to any site.
If they want to join a site or add a new application they have to come and ask us and we will sit together and set this up.
The third and final rule is they must never share information regarding themselves such as their gender, how old they are or where they live.
If they are on the computers and have access to the internet they are to do it downstairs and where we can see the screen at all times.
I am aware of many parents who will say “I don’t know what they do on that computer,” which I guess indicated that we are still suffering a disconnect between online and real world communication and it is something I would love to talk more about.
I feel that if we can teach our children to build the filters of responsibility in their heads then we may create a more socially adept online community – a change from the current Lord of the Flies experience many adults face when dealing with children in online communities today.
I don’t fear the boogie man of atrocities often peddled about online experiences because I am teaching them what to expect in an online world and not relying on some third party safety rail of responsibility to replace my own guidance.