"If parents keep a keen watch on their little ones' Internet habits, the World Wide Web need not be policed. The first proxy is at home," was the consensus of the one-hour talk show organised by Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding.You can tune in to Channel 33 on Friday nights at 9.25pm to watch it. GoDubai along with parents and experts participated in the lively Q&A on the subject "Internet and Children.' A few excerpts.
The Internet offers extraordinary promises for children. Though parents are eager to get their children connected to the web, deep fears abound regarding adverse effects, if any. Most of the parents voiced their disapproval of kids being exposed to sexually explicit images. "My kids accidentally came across a pornographic site and luckily they were wise enough to tell me," said a German mother married to a national. "I think the government is mainly responsible for restricting access to such sites in public interest," she added.
Their worries do not stop there. Too much of Internet will cause social isolation, it is believed. Parents complained that children these days seldom play outside and sit glued to their PCs. Parents were of the opinion that the world of information the Internet offers definitely helps the child perform better in studies but too much of it is not recommended. Tackling net addiction amongst children is to be responsibly shouldered by parents and guardians.
Dr.Adnan Abdulkarim, from Dubai made it clear to the worrying mothers that if children sit on the net for more than four hours a day, they are addicted to it. Putting the blame on the wired world is an easy way of shifting responsibility. Dr. Adnan brought home the point by citing an example. "If any part of your body is damaged, you don't just amputate it. The problem has to be corrected by an operation." Likewise children should be gently guided out of the addiction into other fruitful means of spending time.
Parents are generally happy to see their children browse the net. Little effort is made to understand why the Internet excites the child so greatly. Some of the concerned parents urged the government to put a ban on such games that stir vicious emotions in children. The shopping malls freely sell such violent computer games making it difficult to wean children away from such shops. They tend to mimic those action thrillers while fighting amongst themselves.
Mr. Sharraf Dabbagh from the Dubai Islamic Affairs Committee talked about the government efforts to control pornography on the Internet. He said that a committee has been formed to decide which sites have to be denied access to the public. Any site that carry sexually explicit images or messages or is meant to arouse the violent instincts are deemed inappropriate for viewing. The Internet division in the Government has set up several proxies to prevent such sites from accidentally appearing while browsing the net. "Anything that will hinder the task of molding children into healthy personalities will not be encouraged by the government in the name of entertainment," said Mr.Dabbagh. He also stressed the importance of parental control as the first proxy at home. Nothing works as great as the loving mother's cautious eyes.
The panel included
The talk show was presented by the Dubai TV hostess Julie and co-hosted by Abdulla Al Serkal of the Sheikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding.
- Mr. Francis Mathew, Editor of Gulf News
- Mr. Abdul Bassa Al Johnihi from the Internet City
Mr. Sharraf Dabbagh from the Dubai Islamic Affairs Committee.