May 18, 2014 by Ozgur Ozden
Internet is an open medium to everyone and as a result of this, it is occupied and used by people who want to get some information, sell and advertise products, for fun and many more. In this context, it is very difficult to prepare a policy which covers all the users on the internet including age and demographics.
Protecting children on the net should be taken differently and seriously compare to the other users because they will be open to wide range of threats starting from gambling, cigarettes, alcohol to all the way up to guns, pornography and drugs as described by Gilkerson (2012). We may take some measures to limit access to these materials and monitor them.
There are many security softwares on the market to monitor and restrict access. Most of these companies offer discounts for families and students such as K9 web protection suite, McAfee, Net Nanny or Cyber patrol. But protection provided with these softwares will be limited, because once children understand that they have monitored, it will not be long for them to find a different method to bypass this security indicated by Applebaum (n.d).
Websites with content that are not suitable to children can be designed in same identifiable template format. For example red border can be placed on each of these pages so when children see these specific templates they can identify the site and leave.
Child-safe browsers can be another option to protect our children such as Kidzui, Wonder Rotunda, Shrek Browser. You can allow access to the sites that they can visit, add to the browser, only one page opens, and sometimes disabled right click can prevent our kids to certain point as described by Rubenking (2008)
I am not really sure about applying severe penalties to websites violates the rules. Because just like Laudon & Traver (2013) explained many of the gambling companies operates offshore so same situation can happen to these sites as well. I will be very difficult to monitor them.
Another important point I would like to add is to domain name extension. This is an easy way to educate our children about the meaning of extension. For example ICANN approved .xxx domain names in 2010 and started to become active in 2011 according to Laudon & Traver (2013). This is a good way to educate our children so when they see the domain name, it is forbidden for them.
Educating our children seems like the only solution. We need to explain how to use social media and to what extend to our children. Rules for chat rooms must be explained, who should we talk to and what kind of information can be provided also which information is sensitive and must not provided to anyone.
Gilkerson, L., (2012), 7 dangers of the internet, (online), Available at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2012/01/03/7-dangers-of-the-internet-for-kids/ [Accessed at: 11.4.2014]
Applebaum, B., (n.d.), Parental Software: The Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Child Online, (online), Available at: http://parental-software-review.toptenreviews.com/parental-software-protecting-a-child-online.html [Accessed at: 11.4.2014]
Rubenking, J., (2008), Child-Safe Browsers, (online), Available at: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2325577,00.asp [Accessed at: 11.4.2014]
Laudon & Traver (2013 pg.588), E-Commerce 2013 Business.technology.society., New York, 9th edition, Pearson Education Limited