Harm or Loss Caused by the Internet

Technology and the Internet are undoubtedly beneficial teaching and learning resources.  However, as with most useful tools, there are some inherent dangers associated with using the Internet.  One way of think of technology and the Internet is to see them as simply types of tools.  Tools are neither good nor bad; it is what they are used for that can be good or bad.  A knife has many useful purposes such as cutting food.  A knife can also be used to threaten or to harm.  A pen also has many helpful and useful purposes such as writing a grocery list or an encouraging note to someone.   A pen can also be used to write hurtful, unkind things.  So it is not the tool that is the problem, but only the use of that tool.  This site promotes the many positive uses of technology and the Internet, but the reality is that the Internet also has many uses that are less than wholesome and even dangerous!  The biggest risks that the Internet poses for children are physical danger, financial or material loss for the parents, exposure to unhealthy worldviews, and pornography.

Risk of Physical Danger

There are people in this world out to harm your kids!  The risk of physical harm to your child comes in two forms.

  1. Deviants who want to meet or abduct your children. Children and teens must never give out personal information such as their real name, phone number or address.  They should never agree to meet someone they have only talked to online!
  2. Individuals who would give your children harmful advice or instructions. There are people out there who would prompt others to suicide or encourage other harmful behaviours because they actually think it is a good idea.  There are other people out there who think it is funny to harm others or get them to harm themselves.

There was once a young teen boy who followed ‘instructions’ he had found online.   These ‘instructions’ told him to mix certain chemicals together, heat them on the stove, and “watch closely” what would happen.  The materials burst explosively into flame.  Luckily, the boy was not near the pot when it happened so he was not burned but this story could have ended very differently.

Risk of Financial/Material Loss

Make sure your children know that they should not give out financial or credit card information to someone online.  There have been online scams where perpetrators have asked young children to get the credit card out of mommy’s purse or daddy’s wallet.

There are also numerous ‘joke’ ‘instructions’  in youtube videos and on other websites.  These ‘instructions’ can be very destructive if followed by a child.   For instance, instructions exist for taking electronics apart and replacing certain components with tinfoil, essentially ruining them.  Parents need to tell their children not to do anything they read or see online without checking with them first.

Conclusion

Parents need to be aware of the risks associated with Internet use so that they can work towards neutralizing technology-induced risks.  The Internet is a powerful tool.  With proper Internet parental supervision, the use of the Internet and technology has many benefits.

© Celesta Thiessen



 
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