— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) August 2, 2015
While children can potentially be trained or mentored to post responsibly on the internet, it is difficult, if not impossible, to control what they imbibe from it. Children learn from what they hear and see and it may not be always possible to shut them off to bad stuff online without denying them the benefits offered by the digital tools. It is, however, possible to educate the child about good and bad, so that the child, when accidentally exposed to unacceptable content, has the discretion in her to not be affected by it. This, in turn, hinges on an honest and open relationship between the child and the guardian.
There is a very thin line between hovering and overseeing and each child and guardian must sit together and draw rules and limits to freedom and control. Much as it may look like an insurgence into a child’s freedom, it is important for the child’s safety, for the parent (or guardian) to monitor a child’s online activity, at least until the appropriate age, which must be decided by mutual consensus (15, in our rather conservative household). It is also essential for the parent to be aware of the digital neighborhood of her ward — knowing her friends is a sure way of knowing who she is or could become.