How Can Parents & Teachers Help Children to Stay Safe Online
Islam is a complete code of life, its guidelines are beneficial not only for Muslims but for the whole mankind. Islam has declared modesty as a part of faith and strictly discourages nudity and immorality. Technology continues to infiltrate more parts of our lives. It is important to highlight that many of the 83 million internet users in Pakistan are young people who can fall prey to harmfulonline content – which may lead to social/immoralissues and even involvement in serious crimes at later stage.
Itstarts with searching for indecent/immoralonline content and may lead to the young person committing unlawful acts and indulging in heinous cybercrimes. The number of such youngsters are increasing day by day and if not controlled, it may have devastating impact on our societyat large.
In this technological era,we cannot deprive young people & children from using internet/social media however, we can certainly guide themabout the risks associated with online activities.Online risks vary by age, gender and country to country. However, searching/viewing sexual content may be the most dangerous online hazard being faced by our youngsterswhich can incite them to other immoral crimes. To mitigate the risk,parentsneed to communicate and discuss with their children about suchonline content. They must also talk to them about cyberbullying, predators, inappropriate online content and associated legal consequences.For deterrence,youngstersmust be made aware about prevailing internet lawsof Pakistan which includes Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016and (ii) Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rule 2021to avoid initiation of penal consequences.
Some guidelines designed for parents/guardians to minimize online risks for their childrenhave been summarizedand listed below:
- Always spare time for your kids.Treat yourchildlike a friend and always keepcommunication channels open so that they may freely share any threat being faced over internet/social media.
- Always convey potential online hazards to your childrenand how to avoid associated risks for example: do not interact with strangers, don’t disclose personal information to any one, don’t allow strangers into your group/page, don’t follow their instructions etc.
- Use parental control software to set controls over IT devices as per age requirement like set watch time, allow only appropriate applications, access to history etc. A list of parental control software is alsoavailable on PTA website (on home page under “quick link”) or directly download from:(https://pta.gov.pk/assets/media/internet_parental_control_software_list_13032020.pdf).
- Try to always place the computer in an open spaceso you can keep an eye on their online activities.
- Encourage and provide opportunity for physical activities to your kids instead of merely letting them play online video games especially games which have violent imagery.Excessive use of such games may have a negative impact onkids’ personality and health,when kids have greater exposure to violencethey may imitate the violence they see and show aggressive behavior while interacting with others kids of same age group.
Additionally, users can report prohibited content to concerned Social Media Platform(s) or to PTA so as to ensure its quick removal to mitigate associated risks especially in defamation cases. PTA has devised a user friendly Complaint Management System (CMS)for instant lodging of complaint athttps://complaint.pta.gov.pk/registercomplaint.aspxor install PTA CMS mobile app (available on Android & iOS. Users can also email at: [email protected]or file a complaintonPrime Minister Citizen’s Portal (PM Portal).
With meaningful discussions and mutual coordinated efforts, we can prevent our children from online risksand help them navigate the online space in a secure way.