Parental control vital over use of social media by the children 16 pc of voters feel it’s ‘misused’

In this week’s online poll, Arab Times asked readers to vote on the impact of social media on children. Voters agreed that parental control is absolutely necessary to make sure children don’t get misguided on the social media. This view received 60% votes in the poll.

Parents Arab Times spoke to touched upon the ways they use to impose control on their children’s social media behavior. While some go to the extent of totally denying any internet access to their children, which is a very small minority, others have set fixed timings for accessing internet at homes. This is when the parents are around, and the browsing takes place in the living room.

Some parents have bought their children flash-drive Internet connectivity, and they take it with them when they go for work. This way they make sure that there’s no Internet activity when they are not at home.
Homes where the mother is not working, while wi-fi connectivity is available, children are not allowed to use laptops. They have to use large monitors so they can’t do anything on the sly.

Parents expressed two kinds of fears when it came to boys and girls. Parents of boys said they were afraid that their children would pick up bad habits and get addicted to porn sites. While parents of girls said they feared if their girls would fall into emotional relationships with strangers, who would take advantage of them.

5 % of the voters opined that social media exposes children to sex offenders. However, parents who spoke to the Arab Times showed that this view was based on information from the media, and not any personal experience.

Sixteen percent of the voters felt that children misuse social media. There are more flip sides to social media than positives, they noted. It encourages commercialism with children using their pages to flaunt their new gadgets or photos they have taken with stars and celebrities, stoking a competitive mentality among their peers, who try to emulate them. This far from encouraging friendship only creates enmity between children. 2 % of parents felt that children use social media exclusively for the purpose of becoming more popular among their peers.

5 % of the voters felt that most parents are not very savvy with computers, while children are smarter. This is a drawback that parents face when it comes to controlling them. Parents, who are in the IT field, said that they keep a tab on their children’s Internet behavior, with some even monitoring every move from their offices. There are ways to block out sites, set clocks to make the computers closed down automatically after a certain period of use, and check out messages exchanged.

However, most parents only know the basic operations in a computer and are unable to exercise these control options.

12 % of the voters felt the children of today value freedom a lot, and it’s difficult to control them beyond a certain point.

By: Valiya S. Sajjad Arab Times Staff

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