He The advancement of technology brought with it both positive and negative influences. While many children learn and gain knowledge through the Internet, some children have been negatively influenced by the things they consume on the Internet.
Research has shown how children are exposed to inappropriate content online and the need to monitor them. However, most parents are unaware of the damage that their negligence or ignorance can cause to their children.
Speaking on the subject, one mother, Blessing Aiyegbeni, stated that problems related to inappropriate content online could also be solved through the Internet. She pointed out that when a problem was detected, many times, the solution to that problem would also be on the Internet.
She said: “On my son’s internet access, I use Google parental control. With this enabled on your device, I can monitor the activities and everything you do on the phone from my phone. For example, your email is registered on my phone, so I can easily monitor Google activities from there. With parental controls turned on, the content you are exposed to is limited to your age because most of these websites are rated accordingly.”
Aiyegbeni added that while some websites do not indicate an age limit, she said timely follow-up would help her keep her son under control in the event of an intrusion.
For his part, a doctor and mathematician, Abdulmojeed Olayinka, said that instead of using a popular parenting style like being harsh and strict with children to keep them in check, he advised parents to take a better approach to handle situations with the children.
He said: “To prevent a child from engaging in any wrongdoing and moral wrongdoing, there must be the primary understanding of the proper guidance to act rightly rather than wrongly engage in what he is curious about or accidentally stumbled upon. There must be a moral and respectful parenting value instilled in children, even without trying to dictate what to watch.
“Authoritarian parents make their children receive communication only from one side without regard to their emotional and psychological needs. The value of respectful and moral upbringing will ensure that children become independent, understanding and rational beings; making correct decisions under or without supervision depending on their age.”
The father of three pointed out that each nation had its own unique parenting values, which implies that all parents cannot follow the same pattern to guide their children because humans are different with diverse perspectives.
Olayinka said: “Parents should strive to practice what they really want their children to do because children genuinely and intuitively learn from them. Perhaps with a little spirituality now, parents need to learn to pray for their children’s righteousness and divine guidance. Furthermore, it is the responsibility of all parents to teach their children correct values and skills and encourage them to exhibit morality at all times. This can be easier if parents spend quality time with their children, watching cartoons and other educational programs with them.”
She noted that parents need to be assertive enough to teach their children how things can be done better, while letting them know they can come to them for help. Olayinka further said that by participating in online activities together with the children, it would create an avenue to teach them everything before learning outside.
Also, another mother, Hamidat Adegebo, stated that she was aware of the parental guide on phones and would implement it to monitor her children’s online activities when they start using the phones.
Adegebo stated, “I still don’t know how it works exactly, but since it’s a kind of monitoring system, I’ll install it on your phones for proper monitoring. However, this would be after instilling in them morals, spiritual awareness, and adherence to the rules.”
He said that proper morality would be the lens through which his children would see the world and would guide them even when there were opportunities to fulfill their potential.
“With the right guidance, they will know what is right and what is wrong, thus filtering what they consume on the Internet,” added Adegebo.
In his contribution, a father of three, James Abodunrin, pointed out that today’s children are difficult to control, adding that a proper understanding of their world would help parents curb their excesses.
He noted: “When their world is understood, parents will also implement technology to ensure that proper monitoring is ensured so that children do not trespass.”
Commenting on the development, a technology expert, Ibrahim Sarafadeen, claimed that parents could use site blockers to prevent their children from accessing unfiltered content on the Internet.
He said: “These site blockers help ensure that children, intentionally or not, are not exposed to adult content. Parents can also make use of the search engine settings on their children’s phones. There is a setting in the search engine where you can restrict or regulate what results are displayed on the search engine results pages.
Sarafadeen said that although novel and expensive, parents could create a central web path to add their children as components of the path.
He noted, “When added as components, they will need their parent’s permission and assistance to access any website. A professional should be consulted for this.”
Also commenting, a cyber security analyst, Toyyib Alarape, stated that it was vital that parents monitor and take their children’s safety online seriously.
He said: “Beyond adult content on the Internet, there are greater evils on the Internet that children can be exposed to. There are comics and cartoons that now support homosexuality, so in a country like Nigeria, children can have access to cartoons on the Internet and parents won’t notice.”
He said that Google’s parental controls were one of the means to ensure that children were safe while using the Internet. She stressed the importance of close monitoring and evaluation of parents’ thoughts to mitigate the effects of any inappropriate content consumed by their children online.
He noted: “While tools like the parent guide work as I said above, there is now content classified for children on the Internet that is still not healthy for them. Parents need to keep a close eye on their children and let them express what they saw or watched on the internet.”
He said it was also important to regularly consult technicians for tools that would deny children access to adult content on their phones.
He explained: “Kids today are smart. The world is global and children will always find ways to circumvent security processes online. That is why it is important that we involve them. When they are morally upright, they will see no need to circumvent any security processes. However, parents still need to call in the experts to make sure the security level is more stringent.
“Parents can’t afford to take any chances because these kids are bright and way ahead of the curve. However, a strong password in the parent guide and some other precautions will prevent them from exploring adult content.”