Mother's column – The Internet is an online brothel with open access for children


Christian Life

Edit Frivaldszky, CNE.news

Parents should take close notice what their children are doing on their phones and protect them against online dangers. Photo AFP, Dimitar Dilkoff

The average European child spends 3-4 hours online every day. That also means that our children, kept in check by their parents, who spend 1-1.5 hours a day online, balance out their peers who spend 6-8 hours a day online.

Of course, some parents believe that the information on the internet broadens a child's perspective, that they learn things they don't learn at school or at home, that social media helps them to socialise, etc. All this is true, but is it healthy to do so for 3-4 hours a day? If a boy just browses information, he goes crazy. If a girl is swiping through the social media posts, she easily ends up with low self-confidence. Recent studies show that children –mostly girls– can suffer from severe body image problems due to the expectations they face at social media platforms.

Let's be honest! The internet opens the door to harmful content in our children's lives. It's not just harmony, friendships, documentaries and artwork that enter the kids' room through the screen.

Collective action

The European Parliament's LIBE Committee recently adopted a report aimed at protecting children online. Among others, the report addresses the prevention of the distribution of child pornography, the benefits of parental control software and mentions children's access to pornographic content as a threat to the mental health of the future generations. Now is the time for collective action, as the average child is around 9-10 years old when they first encounter porn and violence on the screen, even without searching.

Is your child an exception? I don't think so. You can talk to them about how to turn away from harmful content, make them aware of the dangers of developing unintended addictions or encourage them to participate in sports and offline social activities. But a healthy adolescent will always question the rules set by his or her parents and take the risk in dangerous situations just for the sake of trying them. The best solution might be to surround them with a peer group or siblings who provide an environment to help him disconnect from the screen.


What we don't let them do offline, we should not let them do online. Who would take their ten-year-old child to a brothel "just to look around"? Who lets killer robots into their living room? Why should it be secret what sites they browse, what content they watch? Somehow, the world tells us that the child's smartphone belongs to their intimate sphere, and that parents have nothing to do with what goes on in these gadgets. But they do. Very much so.

Let's allow them to develop healthy friendships and discover the beauty of a loving relationship when the time is right. Let's teach them independence. Let go of their hands so they can experience the taste of success: whether it's washing their own clothes, organising their own programmes according to their own little plans.



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