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The audience of the World Wide Web is getting younger every year. According to the research carried out, the age of children - active Internet users - is 7-9 years old today. They look for friends on the Internet, listen to music, watch cartoons, live online games. Simultaneously with the global expansion of the Network, the urgency of such a problem as information security is also increasing.
Why do children need the Internet? How can you protect them from inappropriate content on the web? Our correspondent tried to find answers to these and other questions.
It's no secret that a modern first-grader can easily download a movie or game from the Internet, register on a social network, listen to your favorite music online, or make penpals.
From an early age, schoolchildren fall into a real dependence on computers and all kinds of gadgets. Today's boys are less and less interested in the Cossacks-robbers, "war games", sports games, and among the girls you can hardly meet those who have an idea of such games as classics, "rubber bands", daughters-mothers …
On the other hand, children play Internet games with great interest, they can look at the posted pictures of friends for days, like them and enthusiastically sign awesome "comments".
Thousands of parents are racking their brains over how to protect their child from computer addiction, how not to quarrel with him, forbidding him to “hang out” in the internet for a long time.
- First of all, you need to take your children’s free time so that they don’t have a minute left for computer entertainment! - the psychotherapist Alexander Dokukin is sure. - It's quite real. If a child is interested in studying, he has many real friends, he has a hobby, there are good relationships in the family, he will not have the need to surf the Internet all the time. After all, many schoolchildren go headlong into the Internet, trying to escape from psychological or emotional disorders. If children see that their parents are busy with an endless showdown, making money or, worse, abusing bad habits, they begin to live a virtual life. Thus, they escape from experiences that are especially exacerbated in adolescence.
In addition, you need to often talk heart to heart with children, carefully ask what they are interested in, with whom they communicate at school, what they strive for, what they dream about …
Dangerous transitional age
Once, as usual, after returning home from work “without arms and legs,” 48-year-old Orlovchanka Tatyana Usacheva fell asleep in an armchair in the hall. Only in the morning did the mother discover that her 14-year-old daughter Natasha had not spent the night at home. As it turned out later, the girl went to visit the friends she met on the web last evening. She returned home with a huge tattoo on her shoulder with a picture of a flower.
… Five years ago, her husband left Tatyana Dmitrievna, leaving her alone with her 10-year-old daughter. In order to feed herself and Natasha, the woman all these years worked hard at two jobs. There was enough money for everything you need, but there was no time to bring up my daughter - there would have been time to cook here to eat, not to mention talking with Natasha or taking her somewhere. But the girl had a tablet and an expensive mobile phone. Having hurriedly did her homework, she plunged into gadgets and roamed the glowing pages deep into the night.
“When I asked what she reads everything there, my daughter referred to the fact that they ask a lot at school, and the necessary information can only be found on the Internet,” says Tatyana Dmitrievna.- Well, I didn’t climb …
As it turned out later, some time ago Natasha received a message on the social network from an unfamiliar girl with a proposal to make a temporary "tattoo". She agreed - you need to somehow express yourself, but she didn’t ask my mother’s permission: she wouldn’t allow it anyway. I had to do everything secretly.
After this incident, Tatyana Dmitrievna was horrified - she suddenly realized that she knew almost nothing about the life and hobbies of her daughter, and the girl was of a transitional age.
“The psychotherapist I turned to advised me not to scold my daughter in any way, but, on the contrary, to apologize to her for giving her so little attention,” says Tatiana. - I did just that: we had a heart-to-heart talk with Natasha. I quit my second job. There is less money in our small family, but there is enough for everything you need. But the daughter is under supervision. Now we have a good, trusting relationship.
Probably, every mother and every father more than once caught themselves thinking that they do not devote enough time to raising their own children. But the frantic pace of life, the constant pursuit of money and material wealth do not leave time for leisure with children. The maximum that schoolchildren receive from the majority of parents in educational terms, duty diary checks, rare visits to parent meetings and joint trips once a month to McDonald's.
Living with the Internet
Of course, getting information and organizing your leisure time is much easier using the Internet.
Some experts are pondering whether the massive use of the Internet is really a problem, or is it a completely natural movement of progress that comes to every home and should be taken for granted?
I must say that the use of the Internet today is not a privilege for a schoolchild, but an essential part of learning and a means of helping to socialize in society.
If we talk about statistics, then, according to Rosstat, we have about 8-10 million children under 14 years old today use the Internet. A quarter of them are children under the age of five. For comparison: only a third of the adult population of Russia today uses the Internet as actively. We can say that children grow up in a completely different world. Moreover, the compulsory study of information technology begins only from the eighth grade. Everything that comes before is exclusively the initiative of children and their parents.
Moreover, children do not lag behind adults, or even surpass them in mastering the global Web and tools for accessing it.
As for the fight against information "excesses" for immature minds (distribution of pornography on the Internet, drug propaganda, etc.), experts identify two most effective areas: competent education and specialized software. In particular, antiviruses, content and spam filters, parental control. However, according to surveys, parents are often simply afraid to use this kind of software, because they themselves are poorly versed in this issue.
The director of one of the Oryol schools is sure that care for children's media safety worries most of teachers and providers, but parents are surprisingly indifferent to this matter.
“They perceive the discussion of virtual threats at parent-teacher meetings as something abstract, believing that this problem will never affect their children,” she said. - Meanwhile, we are increasingly dealing with cases when, due to excessive communication on the Internet, a child drops out of school and life. And the work on the rehabilitation of an Internet-addicted child is very long, there is not a single magic pill to relieve him of his attachment to a computer.
Orlovets Grigory Bologov, who alone brings up two daughters, agrees with this opinion. At one time, he missed the girls - like most of the growing schoolgirls, they created accounts on social networks and spent all their free time in them all their free time.A year later, they slipped into Cs, and one of them had a sharp drop in self-esteem.
Some of her classmates responded negatively in the comments to the photo on her page about the girl's appearance. Her, as they say, "wedged". The father, together with the eldest daughter, still convince the girl that she is the most charming and attractive.
- An adult will never be able to spend as much time on the Internet as children! - says Grigory Viktorovich. - In general, I think that children on the Internet, by and large, have nothing to do - you can prepare for lessons using books, watch movies on TV, communicate with friends in the yard, and not on the Internet! And the rights to the Internet must be issued from the age of 18! Moreover, I have elderly relatives whom I also have to protect from the Internet - they fell into this web. What can we say about children …
Experts assign an important role in solving the problem of Internet addiction among children not only to parents, but also to the state.
In their opinion, it is necessary to develop a kind of regulatory system, which should be moderated by the state. Unfortunately, today neither the legislative base nor the legal culture can keep pace with the movement of progress. The same Federal Law "On the Protection of Children from Malicious Information" is, in fact, a fight not with the causes, but with the consequences of the problem. And the state and society as a whole realize quite late that progress can pose a threat - primarily a moral one.
When asked whether children should be categorically denied access to the World Wide Web, the Children's Rights Ombudsman in the Oryol Region, Vladimir Polyakov, answers as follows:
- Of course, on the one hand, it is better for children not to sit at the computer, but to chase a ball or jump over jump ropes in the yard. But, on the other hand, as you know, the more you forbid, the more you want. In my opinion, good educational work is needed here.
The problem of children's safety on the Internet is not technical, but pedagogical. The main filter of information is the intellect and spiritual culture of the child. However, someone should shape this culture, and according to research, our teachers and parents today have a very low level of information literacy. There should be a professional navigator next to the student, whose functions could be performed, for example, by school librarians.
It is necessary to form an information culture in children's minds, the ability to independently filter information.
Everyone should be responsible for the safety of children on the Internet - the government, business, parents and teachers.