Parents Corner

Educating children about online abuse

PW invited parents of the G.D. Goenka Public School, Paschim Vihar, Delhi to share insights on how to protect/educate children about the dangers of online sexual abuse and pornography

“My nine-year-old twins Hridaan and Hridika (class IV) often browse the Internet on laptops/smartphones to watch animation and science-fiction movies. To ensure that they don’t view adult content, we have strictly instructed them to use these gadgets only in the living room, so we can keep an eye on them. We have also advised them not to begin conversations with virtual or real strangers who ask them for personal information, photographs, or videos, and to inform us if any such requests are made. I believe boredom drives children to the Internet to seek virtual friends and other forbidden forms of entertainment. Hence, we have enrolled our children in extra-curricular activities such as music and dance lessons.” — Eksha Makkar, homemaker



“My son Yash Ahuja (class III) is too young to understand the words — pornography and online sexual predators. We select the content he watches on the Internet. Right now he has developed special interest and love for nature and animals, so he usually watches online videos about them. For now, we have taught Yash about “good and bad touch” and have asked him to avoid interaction with strangers and report to us or school authorities, in case any stranger approaches him.” — Shruti Ahuja, homemaker


“First, as responsible parents we have developed a good rapport with our son Sidhvin (class V). He uses the Internet for educational purposes and to play games. During our conversations at home we have discussed the issue of children falling prey to online sexual predators and have instructed Sidhvin not to engage in conversations with virtual strangers and/or reveal any personal information. We have also barred Sidhvin from signing up on any social networking site until he reaches the prescribed age. On the recommendation of our friends and relatives, we have also recently installed a parental control software on Sidhvin’s computer to monitor his Internet activities.” — Amit Kumar Shamihoke, associate director, Edelweiss Financial Services


“As a psychologist, I firmly believe that children should be allowed minimal gadgets time until they attain the age of ten years. Hence, I don’t allow my son Veer Babbar (nursery) to view television or  use my smartphone for more than 20 minutes per day. This is because too much screen-time results in sleep deprivation in young children. Instead, I encourage Veer to spend more time playing outdoors. Parents should restrict the gadget time of young children and instead encourage them to learn a hobby such as music and dance.”  — Dr. Priya Bhatnagar, psychologist and assistant professor, Jesus & Mary College