Monitoring children in the digital age

Monitoring children in the digital age

Observer Writer

Monday, December 16, 2019

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PORUS, Manchester — The opportunities and challenges of the digital age and their significance to the role of parenting, has been emphasised by Don Dobson, director of communications at the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica.

He was addressing parents and teachers at the Porus Primary School annual parenting seminar held last month during Parents' Month.

Dobson warned that without proper parental intervention, “these tools of innovation [electronic devices] could become tools of destruction”.

With the aid of PowerPoint presentation slides, the guest speaker demonstrated the positive benefits of the Internet when properly utilised as against its misuse, which he said has led to suicides and the destruction of young lives and careers. “Online actions have offline consequences,” he cautioned.

He stressed that parents and guardians would have to familiarise themselves with the digital devices used by their children, such as smartphones, laptops and tablets. He advised adults to use Google services to set up parental controls and not to leave it up to their children to do it on their behalf. He stated that there are instructions via Google that enable parents to use their smartphones to monitor those of their children and receive alerts when an undesirable site is visited or anti-social activities are being carried out online, such as cyber bullying.

The Broadcasting Commission's information officer said that PG (parental guidance) has long gone beyond television viewing and parental control must now be applied to all the other personal digital devices that are available to children. He warned that sexting (the transmission of pornographic material by smartphones among other devices) is now moving from high school students down to primary schools.

He stressed that parental control begins with the proper values and attitudes, which have to be supported by the social skills to interact with children and the technical skills to implement the digital monitoring and controls.

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