I saw a TV show recently on how youngsters and teenagers abused their internet privileges and got into a whole lot of trouble.
In my line of work, the internet is more than just a useful tool. The abundance of priceless and practically free information (apart from the internet access charges of course) complements my ability to perform the tasks in the office. The internet is like a huge brainstorming session or a technical seminar where attendees can come and go at any time.
At home, online videos and music makes relaxing after a day's work more enjoyable. News at your fingertips keep you well informed. Alternative medias counter the propaganda by the state news by giving you a better well balanced view.
Of course, that is just the good side of the internet. Gambling, dangerous ideals like racism and terrorism, and pornography (although some might say that is the good stuff ) are abundant too; bringing into the cyberworld sexual predators, sex scandals, exposure of private videos and pictures, spread of extremism and so on.
Apart from that, chat rooms, blogs and forums can become an addiction that is similar to era of Tamaguchi a few years back where people lose their jobs, neglect their studies and even family responsibilities.
While trying to respect privacy, parents have to go through the nightmare of not knowing if their kids are up to something they will regret later on, even more so for parents who don't even know how to turn on the computer.
Education and being open about the good and bad of the internet is vital. Trust between parents and their children will be the base of a healthy use of this powerful tool where kids will prefer to share with their parents on the things they do online and respect the responsibilities entrusted to them. Parents have to play their part too, by taking the game of catching up on this technology seriously.
In the midst of the inevitability of the surge of the use of the internet in the future, together with more uncertainties that will tag along, I feel fortunate it is not something foreign to me and I am glad that more and more parents are getting familiar with the dangers of it. More so, any knowledge gathered throughout the years should prove to be useful in the future, when it comes to my own family. Maybe someday I will do a pay-it-forward by volunteering in educating parents who are lost in this world wide web.
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