First there was intelligence quotient or IQ, but now it’s all about technology quotient or TQ.
Children today have high TQs, said Sonali Patankar, founder-member of Ahaan Foundation, which works to sensitise children and adults about the impact and risks of internet usage.
“But, with this rise in use of technology, there is a risk of children going astray or becoming targets, especially if there is no one to guide them,” said Patankar. “It is important for parents and schools to understand the implications of the Internet. Only then can they help students understand its long-term implications.”
A number of schools are working to create dialogue about the implications of the Internet, and install monitoring mechanisms to ensure safety of their students online.
One way to ensure dialogue is to conduct regular workshops on cyber safety. “We have conducted three such workshops and have found it to help teachers open up lines of communication with students,” said Vrinda Malse, principal, Sanjivani International School, Kharghar. “Our students have also pledged to not create accounts on social networking websites till they turn 13.”
Some schools, like Billabong High in Thane, also strict rules regarding the use of computers by students. “None of our computers are connected to the Internet,” said Manisha Joshi, the social sciences teacher. “If the internet needs to be accessed, the user must have special permission to obtain passwords.”
Further, experts stressed on the need for teachers and parents to create an environment of comfort, allowing students to share questions and concerns.