Sunday, November 10, 2013

Is Internet Safe for Kids?

We all know the immense dangers the internet holds, from cyber-bullying to snapchat. By its definition the internet democratizes information, so think of the consequences of putting that information in the unprepared mind of a 8-year-old.
However, we can all agree that the Internet can be a wonderful resource for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. Kids who are old enough to punch in a few letters on the keyboard can literally access the world.Just like any safety issue, it's wise to talk with your kids about your concerns, take advantage of resources to protect them, and keep a close eye on their activities.

So if the internet by its whole is not a safe place for kids,  how young is too young? These days, children are starting to get tech-savvy at a much younger age.  Technology plays an important role in all of our lives, and children, at some point, will need to learn how to use it. 
True, a cell phone is a useful tool for a child as young as seven. A computer is a necessity for school children of any age.  To cut the expense of textbooks, some teachers use on-line textbooks that are linked to the school’s website.  Many schools also have their own Facebook-like websites that let the kids communicate with each other.  

Children are curious.  It’s only natural.  Parents have been known to set up Facebook pages for their young children, but don’t think to set parental controls.  If a child hears about a game a classmate is playing, he may want to try it.  Many games have chat boxes and the child may decide to “talk” to other gamers.  Children may know not to talk to, or give their personal information to strangers.   However, a lot of them don’t realize that they shouldn't give out that information on line.  After all, they’re not talking to a stranger, they’re typing in a box.   Without knowing it, your child could put his and your privacy at risk.

Here are Mumsnet top tips for keeping under-fives safe on the internet:

  • Always keep the computer in a family/ communal room, and keep your children's use supervised. 
  • Use some suitable parental control to ensure your child doesn't accidentally stray into sites that are unsuitable.
  • Try to make computer usage something that you do together, rather than a substitute babysitter. 
At Totlol, we are trying to solve this safety issue by tackling a small, yet important, realm- online videos. We are creating a safe environment for kids to watch their favorite videos online. 

We understood that the best 'parental control' we can ever create will to harness the power of REAL parents. This is how we established our community of parents that is in charge of pre-screening and checking each video before it goes into the Totlol system, and we would LOVE it if you'll join us!