Children going online
AT WHAT AGE should a child be allowed access to the internet? I'm asking because our grand-daughter, Ruby, (aged 8) has just been given her mum's old laptop and is now online.
She has a full Google account with Gmail and all the other bits and pieces which go with a Google account. There are, of course, various explicit content filters on the laptop which should block most dubious content from a Google search or a YouTube search (YouTube is owned by Google).
However, no filter is 100% effective and there is always the possibility that a particular search term will turn up some adult content - not necessarily pornography but medical terms and explicit images and explanations.
Is an eight-year-old ready for this? On the other hand how likely is an eight-year-old to go searching for anything even remotely adult-related? Ruby is more interested in LOL Dolls than the reproductive processes of the human race - although she does know where babies come from (she has a little brother).
She is much more likely to search for things such as 'The Adventures of the LOL Dolls' or 'How to make your own PlayDough' than anything she shouldn't be viewing. Mum will, of course, monitor her usage closely but Mum can't hover over her 24/7 and, even though Ruby is unlikely to search for dubious content she will inevitably come across some at some time.
And, as time goes by, the likelihood that her curiousity will get the better of her increases but this is a danger all parents must consider and find their own solutions to. Ruby has not yet asked to go on Facebook (and Mum would not yet allow her to do so) but that day will come.
Anyone who is on Facebook will know that there is some very upsetting and explicit content and language there but did you know that the minimum age at which Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and many other sites will allow an account is just 13-years-old?
I do realise that the line has to be drawn somewhere but 13 is, in my opinion, a little early. It should be at least the age of consent which in the UK is 16.
How say you?
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