It is especially important parent and child work as a team, with transparency, to keep the young one safe in all areas of life. If the parent is constantly nagging or snooping over the child as they use the internet, anything they wish to do will be done behind the parents back. If the child understands, my parents are trying to look out for me and are here for my benefit, they will be a lot more welcoming to any advice or suggestions being offered. Just like the child that is crossing the road, when a parent is holding their hand, they know the parent is doing so for their safety and once they’re older, they will know how to safely cross the road as they have been educated and shown how to safely navigate around this potential harm.
With the online mediums that are accessible to our children, it will be best practice to show them what websites/ apps to visit and use, highlighting the benefits and equally the potential harms of misusing them. Depending on the age of the young one, it will be wise to detail the way a child can be harmed on the internet, from grooming, to being exposed to nudity, to fraud and many more issues. The way in which stranger danger is explained to our children about people they come across in the street, the same emphasis is to be given to strangers online.
Having that open communication and conversation with one’s child, letting them know that you are present for them if they need you, this will make it easier to manage the child’s online consumption, from a distance, not yet giving full reign to the child. Without letting the child feel intimidated and worried that they are being micromanaged. Content can be managed using applications via a parent’s phone or a similar device that you as parents have sole access too.
In the event a parent recognises a child has visited an inappropriate website, it would be wise to have an open conversation without mentioning the fact that you have tracked their online usage, this will feel rather invasive and restricting for the child, potentially leading them to look for ways to get around the tracking or ad blocks that have been implemented. May we be protected, but if the measures taken until now, prove to be unsuccessful, and the issues persist, stronger action will need to be taken to ensure access to online content is always restricted and managed in person.
The most important and essential point for any parent looking to give their child online access, the computer, laptop or tablet is to be used in a communal area where family members are seated or are constantly in and out of. This will ensure the child is not lead to temptations and is aware that a member of the family can walk in and see their activity at any point.
It is through experience it is stated no child should have access to the online world in the privacy of their own rooms. Through a computer, tablet, phone or even a games console, as the harmful nature of these devices become evident in due course. Shaytaan is always at work and will be trying to lure the young one into a world of evil, therefore the installation of ad blockers, parental controls, and other mechanisms, even on a communally accessed device, is advisable.
Instilling of Taqwa comes above all. A pious companion would perform tahajjud every night, his nephew of a young age asked ‘what should I do?’ The companion advised him, ‘you lay upon your bed and recite:
الله معي Allah is with me,
الله حاضري Allah is present with me,
الله ناظز اليّ Allah is watching me.’
This young child continued to recite this every night until he was the age of 14 when he was asked, ‘how do you find yourself?’ The now 14-year-old nephew replied, ‘O’ Uncle how can I sin when I know Allah is with me, Allah is present with me and Allah is watching me.’
The above incident is evidence of the importance of instilling Taqwa from a young age. It is a stark reminder to all parents, guardians and carers, the actions we will instil in our children, the education we give them, the way we behave before them will ultimately be the way they replicate. Let us remind ourselves and our young children, Allah is always watching all of our actions, He is listening to us at all times and is forever aware.
Why not keep your children engaged with our Islamic educational and fun online platform, Nasihah World! Your Study Companion
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