Dangers of the internet

 

Singapore Road Signs - Warning Sign - Danger

By Margaux Rosset and Jean-Claude Brès

The Internet plays an important part in today’s culture. Alongside, Switzerland is one of Europe’s leaders in terms of Internet penetration with nearly 90% democratization. In World Internet Project Switzerland's yearly report, we learn that 88 out of a hundred swiss residents use the Internet. This virtual world is a haven for those who love knowledge and culture, but it also contains its dangers. The most exposed to these being minors. This article will attempt an answer to the question: what are the Internet’s dangers for children?

The first question that pops to our mind is: What is the Internet for?

- learning
- communicating
- creating and sharing content
- playing (video games)

All these activities can be done from different suppports: computer, smart-phone, tablet, yet in order to direct youth toward interesting content, it is important to be familiar with the networks that are frequently used by young learners:

Facebook
Created in 2004
the most famous social network. Allows its users to publish content and exchange messages and interact over other people’s messages.

YouTube
Created in 2005
Video sharing platform belonging to Google.

Twitter
Created in 2006
Microblogging plateform. Limited to 140 characters per message.

Instagram
Created in 2010
Photo and short video sharing service and application.

Snapchat
Created in 2011
Application adulated by youths which allows you to send photos and videos that only appear for a few seconds.

Vine
Created in 2013
Application belonging to Twitter that hosts short 6 second videos that run in loops and can be shared with members.
As you can see, there exists many means of communicating which can present risks if we explose ourselves too much.

The mains risks are as follows:

- Encounter with ill-intentioned people
- Involuntary exposure to shocking images
- Pornography
- Cyber-harassement
- Excessive video gaming
- Disinformation

To protect minors, it bears on the parents and educators to transmit security guidelines.

Security guidelines

- Learning to respect the rules and the limits (ex. defining a time lapse for connexion, imposing age limits knowing that for most social networks users must be 13 years old and over)
- Openly discussing moral expectations (ex. parental surveillance software can be installed on all devices)
- Being cautious while sharing information (ex. never diffuse personal information)

Websites that address the dangers of the Internet can be found. Some “paint the devil on the wall” while others excessively play down problems. It is important to realise that the Internet is and will be used by children and teenagers even though we may forbid them to do so.

Here we stand against a problem which can be similar to that of city traffic... One can’t forbid a child or teenager from crossing the street... we must show them the potential dangers and teach them how to be protected at best.

The website Witigo appears to be well documented and can allow you to perfect your knowledge about the Internet’s dangers. But beware, as it can be for the side effects of pharmaceuticals, we could risk only seeing the risks and not the prospective benefits.

http://www.witigo.eu/controle-parental/risques-de-cyberdependance

Info-familles Net écoute.fr is another website which provides information, strategies and means to help parents and educators accompany children in their uses of the Internet.

Some other websites are thought out precisely for teachers:

Prévention Web
http://www.prevention-web.ch

Eduscol, always interesting and well documented!
http://eduscol.education.fr/numerique/dossier/competences/education-aux-medias/sites-pour-eduquer-a-l-internet