Parents urged to monitor kids' Internet activity


By Joelle Habib and Sarah King

Monitoring what students are doing on the World Wide Web is getting harder and harder. And that means teachers, librarians, and administrators are exasperated and throwing it back in the laps of the parents.

Jeremy Bourque is a student at Memorial University of Newfoundland and a volunteer with the St. John's Public Libraries board, which provides Internet services. He says parents must be responsible for monitoring their children's Internet activity.

"I think it should definitely be taught at home, no doubt about it, " says Bourque. "You don't want a seven-year-old sitting down and seeing some of the things on the Internet without understanding it first."

Many schools have developed Acceptable Use Policies to guide staff and students in their use of the Internet. Most policies say that parents are responsible for their child's accessibility to the Net.

"There's a screen mechanism called Cyber Control that blocks out certain sites on the Internet. If you are under nineteen, the only way to get it turned off is if you have permission from your parents," says Bill Jameson, a teacher who works with the St. John's Public Libraries Board.

Bourque believes that monitoring use of the Internet is the way to go.

"Very often people would do things if they feel they could get away with it, " says Bourque. "As long as they think they won't get caught, they will do mean things. But if they think people are looking down on them or lose respect for them, then they won't do these things."

Eliminating misuse of the Internet is nearly impossible. However, if it's going to happen, most people say it has to start at home. Starting at the root of the problem means bringing the focus back to the parents, not the educators.


Joelle is a student at Auburn Drive High School in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, while Sarah attends Amalgamated Academy in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland.


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