(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Most parents are not involved in their children's Internet surfing habits and are not aware of which sites they visit, according to a survey by the Israel Internet Association which was presented this week at a discussion of the Committee for the Rights of the Child in the Knesset about the dangers of Internet surfing during the summer vacation.
During the meeting, member of the committee, Shas MK Yaakov Margi stressed that "the Internet has become a central playground of the children, and we must warn them of the virtual danger.”
He added that although local authorities and community centers operate programs do to so, parents remain responsible for the issue.
Israel Internet Association representative Orna Hellinger said that the Association receives many inquiries from parents about topics such as account hacking, online violence, boycotts and identity theft. Some of the parent’s most frequent questions are: “how do I know who my child communicates with?”; “how to maintain privacy online?”; “how do I know if the Internet hurts my child?”; and “how to remove embarrassing photos and content?” The inquiries especially increase during the summer time.
The organization operates a secure Internet browser called SAFE which also contains much information answering parents’ concerns. Since the beginning of this summer vacation, about 7000 parents turns to this program according to Hellinger.
Representatives of the Ministry of Education as well as the Israel National Students and Youth Council also took part in the discussion.
Last month, Education Minister Shai Piron had ordered schools all over the country to devote an hour to a lesson in Internet safety for pupils before they left on summer break, on their last week of school.
Piron had explained that he perceives the Internet as “a space with a variety of challenges”, which emphasized the need and obligation of adults to guide children on safe and respectful Internet usage.