Nobody denies the fact that the Internet is very educative for children, as it is the window for a vast ocean of knowledge. However, we all know that children’s unrestrictive access to the Internet can backfire, as it may expose them to stuff that are harmful for them (for example Porn sites).
This explains why parents so closely monitor their children’s Internet surfing.
However, while we can monitor the use of our children’s Internet surfing at home, can we do the same when they do the same from the internet cafes? No, we cannot.
This exposes us to the question – should children’s access to cyber café be restricted?
Well, a couple of things may be done to address the issue. For example, every café can be strictly asked to block all sorts of porn sites, so that no kid can access them from a café. However, porn sites are not the be all and end all of web pornography. There are several other online stuff that technically do not come within the sphere of “porn sites” or “pornography”, but nevertheless remain to be adult stuff quite unsuitable for impressionable minds of children. How can the cafes ensure – even if they are honest in their endeavour – that the children will not have any access to such types of stuff?
However, my actual concern is not only the type of stuff that the kids view in the Web. Rather, I am more concerned about the time when they visit the café.
There are two cafes in my neighbourhood which I regularly visit. And every time I visit the café I find a lot of children, either busy in online chatting or playing various computer games.
Online chatting and computer games are certainly very enjoyable for kids, and they are certainly not harmful habits per se. I do not have anything against them. But what disturbs me is that I find kids doing such stuff in the café even in the afternoon, i.e. the time when they are supposed to play.
We must remember that the age old and universal culture of children playing in the afternoon is not just an ordinary custom. Rather, it is a crucial habit. Physical health is as important for a child as his studies are. Things like sports and exercise help him develop a healthy and sound mind, which helps me a lot in various matters including his studies. And it is a matter of great concern if little children spend their time in the cyber café in the afternoon, when they are supposed to play – whatever games they like – to develop their physical health.
We simply cannot entertain them spending that time by browsing the Internet, even if they are browsing educative sites that are good for their studies and/or G.K. Tell me, would you like your child to spend the afternoon in his study with a book, even if it is a good book? No. You will rather like him to go out and play, and read the book only after coming back home. Similarly, we should not entertain our kids browsing the Internet at the time when they should go out and play, even if they are browsing those sites which we know to be really good for them. There is an appropriate time for everything, and we must not forget it.
But while we can dissuade our children from Internet browsing in the afternoon when they are doing it at home, how can we be sure that they will not do the same from a cyber café after going out from home?
Therefore, can any such rule be made that will prevent the cyber cafes from allowing children at certain times of the day (for example -the afternoon)?