As a parent you want your child to have ever advantage they need to succeed. You want to put them in the best position financially, educationally, mentally, emotionally and physically, and you want them to take advantage of the opportunities that you give them. Your parents taught you how to be tough, how to roll with the punches, how to be open-minded, and how to recreate yourself to match with the changing times, and now it’s your turn to impart values into your child that will get them ready for their world, one wrought with uncertainty and challenge.
The key to preparation is education, and in a world mediated by technology, education means gaining access to resources and publications through the Web. The question of the Internet can be like a Rorschach test for families — is it the gateway to opportunity, knowledge and success, or is it a fearful place full of predators and unseemly video footage? The truth is that the Internet is both. As a parent it is vital to examine both sides of this learning tool to know just what you are offering to your child.
First, let it be known unequivocally that the Internet is here to stay. With the advantages presented by high speed and the ability for the business, education and public sectors to communicate, market, and distribute information at unprecedented speeds, the Internet has solidified its footing as a permanent technology. Knowing how to present your child with the educational opportunities afforded by this online resource is your job as a provider.
Most parents don’t know the best research databases and online catalogs, and few feel comfortable using search engines. Even if you are a computer literate parent your best bet as a provider is to visit your local library and speak with an Internet or “search” specialist at their information desk. Librarians are not only trained in locating print sources, but since 1990, have been required by most colleges to study online databases and search techniques. Come home to your child with a list of search engines they may use to research books and homework topics and be prepared to sit with them as they look through the sites. You may not hold the key to this online resource as a technology, but you can still be a supportive parent by being with your child when they have questions about what and when to study.
The Internet excels as an arena for sharing ideas and information because of its liberal and efficient nature. Anyone with access to a computer and a modem can post (nearly) whatever they want on a webpage. This allows for tremendous access to ideas and opinions but also serves as a staging ground for potentially unseemly viewing and reading for your child. To ensure that your child sees only appropriate material, make sure your child is viewing material that is only screened through parental control settings. If you have a computer at home, access your computer’s Internet preferences to block categories of websites that you find unacceptable. If you do not have a computer or at home, or if your computer does not permit the “block” setting, have your child access the Web through the local library. Most library computers come set with parentally controlled website preferences and are under constant surveillance by the librarians.
As a parent, you know that the Internet affords excellent opportunities for your child’s educational success. Ensure their achievement by utilizing your library’s resources and your parental common sense, and keep your child on the path to achievement.