PARENTS should develop online skills and follow the formula F-E-E-D to be able to protect their children from cyber abuses.
F-E-E-D, according to online safety advocate Severo “Sonnie” Santos, stands for Filter, Engage, Educate and Discipline.
“There are parental controls in your gadgets like in computers which can filter the internet usage of your kids. You can control the time and sites and programs they can access,” Santos shared during the “Good Parenting in the Cyberage” symposium yesterday.
Santos spearheads Cyber wellness campaign where Digital Parenting module is one of the initiatives to raise awareness among parents the online risks and promote smart use of social web.
He said parents with online skills would find it easy to engage and educate their kids on the responsible use of the Internet.
There should also be trust between the parents and their children.
For example, Santos said he, his wife and kids know each other’s passwords to their social media accounts.
“I want them to know that they can trust me when anything happens,” said Santos.
But at the same time, he said it is important to monitor the people that the children are in contact with online.
Instilling discipline is unpleasant, but necessary.
Santos said parents should know when to cut off the Internet connection, especially for children using mobile gadgets.
Children using personal computers are easier to monitor. The PC should be placed in a common area, where parents would be able to view the online sites that a child visits and programs that he opens.
Aside from regulating Internet use, parents should also be role models and show their children that it’s possible to spend time away from gadgets.
Dr. Stella Manalo, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, said parents should limit “screen time” spent on gadgets, while the children are young.
“There should be rules and curfew times where kids have to surrender their gadgets. You also have to teach your housemaids not to use a mobile phone in front of kids. And of course, you yourself have to get off your phone,” Manalo said in the same symposium.
The cyberage parenting was part of the two-day “Ako Para sa Bata” (I am for the Child) conference held at the Marco Polo Plaza.
Seven government and private organizations committed to support the fight against online child abuse during the conference.
Representatives of Shift + CTRL + Del Conference, Department of Education, Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS), Terres des Hommes Netherlands country office, ECPAT Philippines, International Justice Mission (IJM) and Unicef Philippines made the commitment yesterday.
PPS representative Dr. Milagros Bautista said child protection will be integrated into the residency training program for pediatricians.
Lotta Sylawander, Unicef representative to the Philippines, said they will continue to support efforts to assist child victims of online sexual exploitation and prosecute the cases.
“Unicef will support the establishment and effective use of reporting mechanisms to ensure that child victims of online exploitation and abuse have access to quality support services in accordance with international standards and practices,” she said.