To everything there is a season & a time to every purpose under the heaven-
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build
Most of us have grown up listening to this very popular passage from Ecclesiastes, which wisely reminds us not to hurry through life but savour instead every moment of it. We need to understand that the time for everything will eventually come, just like the time for owning mobile devices, joining a social networking site, creating virtual groups and the like.
Well, you can’t blame me for linking everything back to online safety , for that’s what I do the whole day long. So when I see 7-8 year olds carrying cellphones proudly in public places; 12-13 year-olds exchanging their snaps in their latest outfits via their smartphones; or 15-16 year-olds enjoying the delicious thrills of chatting with complete strangers on their laptops/tablets- I worry and murmur, “There’s a time for everything.”
I would like you, the parents and hence the most concerned party, to give some serious thought to the question “Does my child really need this?” before you go out and buy the coveted gadget for your below pre-teen or agree to their joining Facebook or use the laptop in their rooms.
If any of the following is your main reason for giving in to your child’s demands, you better rethink your parenting strategy:
- All her friends have a smartphone and taunt her as she doesn’t own one
- I can’t lend her my laptop as I work on it and so it’s better that she has her own
- I am a strong believer in freedom- why can’t my 10 yr old join Facebook?
- I know all her friends and pay her phone & Internet bills, so how can she come to any harm?
- I love her so much-so when I picked up an iPhone for my wife I decided to buy her an iPad!
The need for online safety can’t be stressed. The threat arena and complexity is rising steadily every passing quarter, as is revealed by McAfee’s 2nd Quarter 2012 Threat Reports. McAfee Labs detected a 1.5 million increase in malware over the last four months, with new threats like mobile “drive-by downloads” and ransomware” as well as the use of Twitter for control of mobile botnets.
While I will discuss McAfee threat report in detail in my next blog, let us now deal with the parenting aspect. If your child demands and you give in everytime, what lesson are you giving her? Aren’t you making it difficult for her to face real life where there is rejection, loss and unfulfilled wants? Won’t she grow up to be aggressive, selfish, demanding, conniving and hence an absolute misfit?
Hence, its better that you think before you act and then safeguard any gadget that you might buy for your child. Her safety is of prime concern, not the instant gratification of her wish. Consider these options:
- If your child needs a phone to communicate, wouldn’t a basic cell phone suffice?
- Why can’t the child use the home computer, which is conveniently placed in a highly-frequented part of the house? Fix hours for each individual child to avoid disputes
- Is an iPad really necessary for a child? Can she not play on yours sometimes?
- If your child demands to see an adult movie, will you allow? Then why allow her to join Facebook? Many hackers and paedophiles are active there, looking out for new prey.
Remember, there is a time for everything-a time to own a personal gadget too will come. If rushed, and if the child is not educated on handling online dangers, it can prove dangerous for the kid.
So what do you plan to do? While you think, do a quick check of the expiry date of your McAfee Total Protection. Never let your computer and your family be unsafe.
Safe surfing till next time!