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Should We Control Our Children's Access To The Internet?

New Report Suggests Self-Regulation Is The Way Forward

The internet dominates the world we live in, from the way we communicate with each other to the way we now think about things. With the abundance of smart phones and tablets, teenagers as well as young children could potentially have unlimited access to the internet. While not all that can be found on the internet is bad, some parts of it are definitely not appropriate for young children and sometimes even teens.

Parents should, as you would do in real life, try and regulate what their children have access to on the internet. There are a lot of apps to that effect, such as Net Nanny, that can help parents restrict their child's access to certain websites on the internet. Some apps also even limit the time a child can spend on a website. Some of these apps resemble Big Brother more than anything else, helping parents spy on their children rather than control what they have access to. There is obviously a big market for these sorts of apps, but a new report suggests that they may not be effective in educating children how to sensibly navigate the web.

Dr Andrew Pryzbylski, lead author of the report and fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, said: "Our findings indicate that good parenting, which allows children to still take risks and develop coping strategies, is integral to whether young people are able to make the most of the opportunities of the online world." The report, which surveyed more than 2,000 children from ages 14 to 17, suggests that parents should let their children discover the internet on their own.

Of course this does not mean that young children should be allowed to roam the internet free of supervision, but older children should be given more freedom, The report suggests that children that are given the space to discover the internet teach themselves how to responsibly use the internet and social media. They are able to maintain more positive online relationships.

One thing is certain, the report concluded that over-controlling and over-bearing parents using apps to restrict their children's access to the internet is not the best way to teach children how to sensibly use the internet. However, letting children even older, roam the internet on their own is not common practice. 89% of parents that have 8-11 year olds use content restrictions and that number drops, but not significantly, to 72% for parents of 12-15 year olds.

Laura is a recent graduate from University of East Anglia in Film and Television Studies, currently interning as a content writer but hoping to one day live off her writing. Follow her @LauraAtSMF.

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Should We Control Our Children's Access To The Internet? Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, October 16, 2014 Rating: 5
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