With the rapid development of technology and ever-increasing internet penetration, more and more people are being exposed to the web and social media in particular.
While the internet can be a great source of information, its unfiltered nature brings along its own set of problems, especially for children.
According to experts, parents should assume a more active role in keeping their children safe online.
Social media expert Alaattin Çağıl, who has experience working in Turkey and several other countries, warned that internet use now requires much more awareness.
He drew the example of a recent Netflix documentary, “Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror,” which zeroes in on a South Korean case in which online chat room operators coerced young women, including minors, into making and sending sexually explicit videos.
Çağıl said that kind of threat is very real and can happen to anyone. He underlined the need to protect children online.
“We must be much more careful when using the internet. We should especially keep children away from the dark side of the internet,” he added.
He underlined the role of the family in the safe use of the internet. “Recently, we are seeing that many people, especially children, are being abused and bullied over the internet. This abuse, whether material or moral, directly affects the lives of children. It is necessary to make sure that children have access to only the good parts of the internet.”
“At this point, families have a key role to play. It is important for families to have the right connection and communication with children so that they do not get caught up in the dark side of the internet.”
Çağıl said that the documentary “Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror,” touches on exactly this issue. “I think all families should watch this documentary. It exposes how a network of anonymous and exploitative online chat rooms has become a hotbed of sexual crimes. A 15-year-old boy hiding himself and driving young girls to suicide is the dark side of the internet that needs attention.”
The social media expert added that children must be kept away from such traps but that will be only possible by raising awareness on the issue amount both adults and children.
“It is very important that families do not let their children’s internet usage go unmonitored. Parents should be able to examine what their children do online and whether the sites they visit are safe,” Çağıl said.
“If families become conscious and communicate correctly with their children, they will learn how to use the internet safely. You know the internet is a great revolution. It has facilitated access to information, but how we use it is very important.”
“However, in order not to live a technology-dependent life, we should never think that we can only do things thanks to the internet,” said Çağıl.