Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Parents should educate their children on the ethical use of Social Networking Sites

Our daily newspaper reported an incident of a 13-year-old, Class VII student school posting “abusive language” on the principal’s Facebook wall. When the principal read the obscene comments and complained to the boy’s parents, they claimed a friend of their son who was studying with him had posted the messages. The boy’s friend request the Principal claimed, was accepted by her daughter on her behalf by mistake.

This incident highlights the lack of education that parents offer to their children on the use of Facebook. The first is obviously the lack of courtesy, the second is on sharing passwords with friends or even with one’s own child and thirdly a lack of supervision of what the child is doing while on social networking sites.

Unsupervised some children unconsciously download malware, make the wrong type of online friends, enter adult chat groups, post contents that enable the child to be stalked or as in this case, play mischief with another friends account.


The new generation should be taught cyber skills and ethics at an early age. Their parents should be conscious that supervision of the child’s online cyber activity like websites surfed and content downloaded is necessary.  It is also important for parents to be aware of who a child’s online friends are in real life and perhaps meet their parents too.

It should be kept in mind that the resulting real life repercussions of online pranks may leave a lasting trauma which cannot be undone.

In India, more often the child is more adept at using a computer and Internet than parents are. In such cases parents must make a consious effort to learn to use computers, social networking and the Internet along with the child, and encourage open discussion on the pitfalls of Internet use. In addition, it is recommended that the computer be kept in an open area where the childs activity can easily be monitored visually.


  1. Agree although needs to be at same time understanding its usefulness. I'm working on supporting a parent group /digital surgery in school in UK. Main problem is parents want to use Facebook, but Local Authority blocks facebook for everyone in schools.

    How easy is it for children and parents to work together in India to learn IT skills, and what provision is there outside the homes of people who can afford, or wish to have a computer?

  2. A personal computer is an expensive items for most in India. There are many cybercafe that can be used. It may be difficult for parent and children to work together due to parents lacking computer skills.

    Worldwide around 40% of organisations have a policy to block access to social networking sites by their staff such as yours. Others allow free access or limited access during lunch hours.