The internet represents limitless potential for enlightenment, discourse, and connectivity. Thanks to an increase in accessibility and technology, online tutoring has been introduced as an incredible learning tool for our children. In order to maintain a positive environment we must be vigilant to ensure that the youngest and most vulnerable among us are safe. A lot of effort has been put into protecting these users, but before online tutoring can become as widespread as it should be, we need to embrace transparency and be accountable for the environment we bring students into.
When Did Your Child Start Using the Internet?
Children are using technology and going online at an earlier age than ever before. Studies show that children as young as three are using the internet on a regular basis, and with the advent of internet-capable tablets, it has become increasingly easier for them to find a way online. PBS says that kids can be exposed to smartphones and other devices by preschool age–that’s about two years old–and internet access tends to become unsupervised by age eight, meaning that’s about the time you stop looking over their shoulder. Many parents become comfortable with their kids using the internet by then, however, if you are still apprehensive about the idea, it’s ok to look over their shoulder. You should also know that there are many out there trying to create a safer experience for children everywhere.
What’s Your Social Media Policy?
Social media can do a lot of great things for your children. It is a medium where they will find friendships, build relationships, discover communities, and express themselves. Your children are digital natives and adapt to new technologies far easier than you do. This is a part of their very identity, so it might not be advantageous to cut them off completely. Instead, the proper monitoring measures should be set into place in order to ensure your children are safe from the content, people, and situations they are not prepared to deal with.
It’s no secret that most platforms are frequented by younger adults and teens, but many users are younger than you might think. A good portion of children using social media and popular mobile apps fall into an age range between 8 and 16 years old. It can be difficult for parents to keep track of their child’s social activity, which is why you should become a friend and contact within your child’s social media circle. This will allow you to monitor their posts and remain aware of who they interact with. It is also a good idea to periodically check your child’s mobile device to see what they have downloaded, and if it is appropriate for their age.
Parents who frequently use social media should also consider how they represent their children on those platforms. Some share every moment in the life of their child, while others keep them off entirely. Many parents admit to over-sharing pictures and video of their children on social media, but in the end it comes down to personal preference and common sense. What is not up for debate is the need for more accountability and safety in social spheres in order to prevent harmful information from falling into the wrong hands.
A Greater Need For Transparency
Local and federal governments have passed legislature and expanded their oversight in order to help prevent cyber crimes and punish the guilty. The most effective way to keep children safe online is to hold the companies, whose websites they frequent, accountable for their safety. Online abuse has been a growing issue for a long time now. Cyberbullying is easy when you’re anonymous and the interaction is not in person. This is why we need more transparency online and on social media.
Live video can be a compromising medium in the wrong hands, which is why parents should monitor their child’s use of programs like Skype just as much as they do their social media pages. However, with enough safety precautions, video has the potential to combat skepticism and become an important tool in the online tutoring industry. Video has the ability to offer unobstructed transparency toward parents and accountability for tutors. Being able to record and monitor tutoring sessions is a giant step toward proving the reliability of the online tutoring model.
As an online tutoring platform that specializes in young children, we know all too well how important it is to keep students safe on the internet. We built Get-A-Tutor alongside elementary and high school educators to identify and address the concerns of both parents and tutors. The end result was more security measures than any of our competitors in order to create the safest online learning environment for children.
In order to maintain this ideal environment, we place value on establishing and preserving accountability and transparency. We record all tutoring sessions in order to establish the same line of trust that is already inherent in a classroom setting. To maintain the privacy of our students, we allow for one-way video, as well as a complete “opt-out-of” video. Get-A-Tutor was created to keep students safe while matching them with the tutor that is right for them.