How much time do you allow your kids when they go online? Do you know all the websites that they visit? Are they on any social media site?
The Internet is a double-edged sword. While it serves many purposes--social media connectivity, research for school projects, watching videos, playing online games, and the like--it also has dark corners parents cannot fully bar their kids from accidentally accessing.
The threat that the World Wide Web poses for young kids is real. It has grown incredibly alarming that legislators are drafting laws that could dictate how parents should protect their kids online.
Three different European bodies—the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council—have been negotiating the details of the new data protection rules since 2012. Under the new rules, it would require all kids ages 16 and below to get parental consent before they use any online service, including social media.
If passed, certain websites (e.g. beer and cigarette sites) would also require visitors to verify their age before they’re granted full access to the sire. Children would need their parents to check an online box that will give them permission to do so. Even the popular Google search engine is not spared. Children would need to enter their birth dates before being allowed type in their search.
While the intention is good, some people who oppose the new rule are branding it harsh and counter-productive. Alexander Whelan, from Digital Europe, which supports the technology industry within the EU, said in an interview with The Daily Mail, ‘It is unreasonable to think that a child of 15 needs parental consent in every situation.’ It would block kids from seeking online help and would add an extra step for them teachers would like to use internet resources in the classroom.
The ICT Coalition for Children Online, another Europe-wide organization, backed the suggestion that increasing the age for children to go online without supervision would only encourage them to lie about their age. A fact that is already happening, as such precaution is already in place on some social media sites and still, many kids have already successfully registered.
Here in the country, laws that concerning the Internet are still vague. However, many advocates have been campaigning for better online safety for kids. Michele S. Alignay, M.A., R.P., co-author of Growing Up Wired: Raising Kids in the Digital Age, have discouraged kids from having their own social media accounts at an early age. “If you want to let your kids have their own social networking accounts, make sure you screen their contacts and supervise them when they use social media.”
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Technical communications manager at Trend Micro Philippines Macky Cruz have recommended software solutions for children’s safer Internet usage. Taking his suggestions is one step to making sure kids get the many advantages of having internet access while protecting them from online predators and the like.
What do you think of the proposed law?
Do you think Filipino parents and kids need for a similar law to be enforced?
Yes. We need to enforce laws that protect our kids from online dangers.
Maybe. I'm all for protecting kids online, but 16 years old is too old already.
No. Parents just need to be more informed and vigilant about their kids Internet use.
Sources: December 15, 2015. “New EU laws could ban under 16s from using Twitter and Facebook without their parents’ permission “ (dailymail.co.uk) December 14, 2015. “Internet rules could require parental OK for millions of teens” (cnn.com)