People of crazy 1990ies were named the "Pepsi generation" with primitive ideals - chewing gum, MTV and raspberry-red jacket. An ability to operate a pager, TV remote control and play station was considered the top of technological advancement, while the children of "zero" years can operate computer mice and sensor screens from the tender nail. This is the so-called "Next generation", logged in the web and guided by hi-tech technologies.
According to children's ombudsman Yuri Pavlenko, 30% of Ukrainian children tie up Internet for more than six hours per day, the same amount of time they spend in school. The question whether they still have time for homework is rather rhetorical. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization notes that children of the first school grade can spend no more than a half an hour per day in front of the computer. Children of the fifth grade can be given one hour and a half.
This scary, scary web
Risks of the internet environment can be divided into two groups - life threatening and mind threatening. For example, a group of criminals kidnapped the son of the founder of the antivirus lab Kasperski. The young man Ivan was very frank and open in the social network and informed the world about his home address, school and leisure habits. Thanks to rich and influential dad Ivan was brought home rather quickly, but not everybody is so fortunate.
"Children and teens cannot draw the line between personal and public information. A person is not born with the ability to distance himself from strangers. That's what parents must teach him," deputy director of the Institute of social and political psychology Lubov Naidionova notes. The first in Ukraine social survey among children proved that every second child watches TV without supervision and uses internet without control. According to the data of the children protection Agency, 44% of minors from all over the world receive propositions of intimate character from adult strangers. Only in the movie "Hard Candy" a 14-year-old girl can 'take care' of a 32-year-old pedophile. In real life the majority of children get hurt.
'Adult' topics also can affect the psyche of young users. "When I learned that my two young daughters were watching porno on internet, I was shocked. A girl next door taught them how to find these topics on internet and even how to download such movies on a mobile. I had a long conversation with them trying to persuade my children that such things are sick and unstylish," says a mom Elena.
Certain social networks include so-called “publics” or groups, where the fans of black humor and chauvinistic jokes chat. There are no bans on derogation on any grounds: gender, racial or religious. “Clubs of sociopaths” impose the ideology of hatred towards all human upon a user. There are groups supporting teenage girls in their strivings to lose up to 30-40 kg. They give practical advice how to conceal from parents a continuous diet, slipping to starvation and how not to die of food shortage. Practically, it is a manual on coming down with anorexia. You may enter the group of the self-killers-to-be. The information on such pages is being updated very frequently, and young brains absorb any information like a sponge.
Cultivation of hatred and aggression in Internet has resulted into such dangerous phenomenon as cyber bullying - harassment of children in the web. In Russia, for example, a six-grade schoolgirl published on Youtube a video of her schoolmate confessing his love to her. The boy had to change several schools, because in every new class his new schoolmates were humiliating and insulting him.
Even though Internet is called a virtual reality, it can rob a child within seconds, faster than a street robber. For example, almost all online games offer to improve a game character with the help of real money. And a child can easily spend a fortune using parent's money. In 2010 a schoolboy used his mom's office mobile to send sms at the total amount of 10 thousand dollars. He just wanted to increase his status in one of the social networks, and as a result forced his mother into debts.
On top of everything else, constant "hanging out" in Internet can result into addiction, similar to a drug one. Chinese children, for example, are treated with electroshocks to get rid of computer addiction. In more democratic countries there are commercial organizations, which put the computer addicts in special camps, forcing them to do sport and read books. In Ukraine there are no specialists, who can treat internet-addiction.
The biggest problem is that children take their virtual lives very seriously. "It is normal for teenagers, as it is a part of the development process. For example, a baby cannot single himself out of the surroundings - he does not distinguish between his hand and the hand of his mom. Older children cannot distinguish between real world and TV events. Parents have to explain that whatever is happing on TV screen is not real. For teenagers it is even more complicated to distinguish between real and virtual worlds, because the Net gives them a possibility to act in the virtual reality. Children and teenagers feel like Lords of the virtual world, where sounds and pictures bend before their wishes," Lubov Naidionova says.
To protect children from the negative content of the web, parents must control virtual movements of their sons or to install children's browser. However, if your child is a "technically advanced" one, to overcome all your filters and passwords will be a piece of cake for him. One of the possible solutions is to teach your children the simple sweets of life - go to a park, play a ball or rollerblade. After all, the formation of child's character and habits in many ways depends on parents.
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