Sun.Star Davao

Protecting kids from the internet


Parents should rethink exposing their children to the internet and the use of gadgets at a very young age. Over the course of the years, digital content that should not be suitable for kids have been proliferat­ing the internet. While parents and good-hearted digital companies have implemente­d means to protect children, some people have become creative in delivering content that should not be seen by children.

One of the latest is the Momo Challenge, which has been around on the internet since 2018. Recently, it has gone viral following a warning posted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland on its Facebook page.

The post shows a disturbing photo of a woman named “Momo”. The unsettling photo shows a woman with bulging eyes, nose that looks like a pig’s snout, and a sinister smile that cutsthroug­h her cheek.

The Momo Challenge started to spread in WhatsApp where users are told to contact a certain number. Once the person contacts the number, he or she will be given certain tasks. Those who refused to do the task are threatened. These odd and dangerous tasks ranges from watching horror movies to taking one’s life.

Despite some saying that parents should not panic, parents still have to put up their guards on how their children, especially those who are below 10 years old, use the internet.

There are some software out there that will limit your child from visiting certain sites. However, it is also a fact that despite these guard rails, harmful digital content will find its way to your children.

One of the best thing parents can do is to not expose their kids on the use of the internet and phones or tablets at a very young age. Sadly, a number of parents have used the internet and gadgets as a means to pacify their kids.

Child developmen­t experts have warned of the negative impacts of early exposure of kids in the use of phones or tablers. For example, it limits their speech developmen­t and may negatively impact their focus on things as they grow.

Children are still not mature enough to determine if the content they see online are good or not. As long as it has flashy colors, well animated, and cartoonish, they will click it. Some people out there have used this formula to corrupt children.

If you want to protect your child from the dark corners of the internet, it is best to not expose them to it at a very early age. There are a lot of activities your kids can do outside the house. Teach them to play games you used to play as a child. There are also a lot of toys that can help in their developmen­t.

Before passing that smartphone or tablet to your child to pacify him or her, think of your child’s safety. The digital world is not as safe as it seems. Corrupted content will find a way. The first line of defense is you, the parent.

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