The Jakarta Post
In accompanying their children when using social media, parents are advised to ensure mental readiness, knowledge and responsibility when children start using social media. (Shutterstock/File)
Parents are urged to pay attention to their children's online activity, particularly by overseeing their social media, a seminar has concluded.
"A student in the fifth grade who is just 12 years old has become a prostitute online. It happened in Bandung. How could that happen?" Yeni Huriyani, head of the education division at National Forhati, said at a seminar on social media literacy in Jakarta on Saturday, as quoted by Kompas.com.
Yeni said one of the possible reasons behind the occurrence was the gap between parents and children. Parents do not know what the children are doing through social media. They also don’t know the content of a child's electronic gadget.
The gap is triggered by a lack of good communication between parents and children. When curious about something, the child turns to the internet to ask questions.
"Whereas, actually not all information that comes from searching the internet is good for children who are mentally unprepared. Such as when wanting to know about menstruation, a Google search would emerge with various articles and images that are not suitable for children," Yeni said.
Yeni pointed to a state of diversion in the family, where parents would rather leave the care and education of their children to others. This prompts obstacles to rise within the interaction and communication, which leads to failure in fulfilling a child's basic rights.
Similarly, Aria A. Mangunwibawa, from the Education and Culture Ministry's Family Planning Education Directorate, noted the generation gap between parents and their children.
To bridge it, Aria said, parents must increase knowledge about technological developments, especially on social media.
"Parents must also be involved and supervise children's activities on social media and the internet. They must always be active in providing understanding, restrictions on the use of the internet and social media," Aria said.
In accompanying their children when using social media, Aria advised parents to ensure mental readiness, knowledge and responsibility when children started using social media.
"Make an agreement with the children in using social media, supervise and accompany children's activities on social media," Aria said. "Parents should know the smartphone password of the child's social media, learn about children's access security features [parental control] and don't forget to set an example in wise social media use."
Slamet Santoso, from the Communications and Information Ministry, said several cases had seen people get caught in legal issues, such as hate speech, when using the internet, especially on social media.
"Netizens think the cyberworld is different from the real world. Even though, according to the law, it is the same. There are many rules that must be obeyed," Slamet said.
He further said that digital footprints were not erased, adding that what users did on the internet was recorded on the server's electronic system. "For this reason, we must be wise, creative and productive in using the internet," he said.
Awalil Rizky, the last speaker at the event, whose four children were science olympiad champions, reminded parents to remember the purpose of introducing the internet to children.
"If we introduce the internet as a learning tool, children will understand it like that. It is different if we introduce it as a mere means of entertainment or even a child control device, so forever the child will understand and use it differently," Awalil said.
Awalil further invites parents not to forget the principles of family education, such as honesty and openness. (liz/kes)