With the internet, it’s not so simple. The nature of the internet is the following:
1. it is easy to access all kinds of information
2. it competes for your attention
3. all the messages want you to do what they want you to do.
These three elements alone make for a very dangerous and volatile issue because the internet will compete with you for the child’s attention, learning, and compliance. As I’ve said in other places, all the parental controls will not work if a child is determined to do something, whether you approve of it or not.
If you want to plant the seeds in the child that will be stronger than the internet, then you have to establish a strong relationship with your child. You can do that either with fear or with love.
If you try to do it with fear, it would need to be a constant fear. Since constant fear is an extremely negative and unhealthy emotion to foster in a child, the following are likely to happen to the child:
1. the child will have low self-esteem
2. the child won’t be honest
3. the child won’t be able to have healthy relationships with other people.
4. The child can develop all sorts of medical and psychological problems as a result of an unhealthy environment.
And is this what you would want for your child?
On the other hand, if you try to build the relationship with love, then you are dealing with a very healthy and natural emotion. The opposite of the above would happen:
1. the child will have self-confidence
2. the child will not be afraid to speak the truth
3. the child will have healthy relationships with others
4. the child will grow and flourish in a healthy environment.
Which one would make more sense to you?
So here’s the secret: you have to establish your relationship with your child BEFORE you introduce him or her to the internet. It might be hard work, and it might require not having internet easily available in the house ( in other words, the internet is a very hard-to-reach element in the house). It may require you sacrificing your own personal hobbies and spending tons of time with your children. This is the only way that healthy, strong and loving relationships can be built.
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