Unprecedented in its magnitude, wreaking havoc in its wake, the novel coronavirus has forever changed the world in ways never imagined.
“The Virus Changed the Way We Internet,” declared the April 7, 2020 headline of the New York Times in an article describing how Americans have been spending more of their lives online. Suddenly, we have become reliant on devices that allow us to work and learn from home. As the schools and businesses of America transitioned, respectively, to remote learning and business meetings, they moved into our basements and living rooms.
Faced with the challenge of incessant months of lockdown and social distancing, and mandated class or work time on the Internet, many individuals—both children and adults—suddenly found themselves with the time and opportunity to tread where they had never dared to before: exploring the “wonders” of the Internet. Bored and divested of in-person social and entertainment options, the easy access afforded by devices represented a welcome diversion from the dread and uncertainty of COVID-19.
That is precisely why now, more than ever, it is vital for us, as parents, to exercise control to minimize the adverse effects of excessive use of electronics on our children’s health, both mental and physical.
Since its inception 14 years ago, Netspark has been at the forefront of the internet filtering industry. Running advanced patented solutions for filtering technology created by CTO Elyasaf Korenweitz, Netspark provides a comprehensive filtering solution for Apple, Android, Mac, and Windows devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Netspark’s application will faithfully guard your family’s safety, obliterating not only indecent content but any material you deem inappropriate. Rather than just blocking websites in their entirety, it also filters inappropriate content from permitted websites as well as videos in real time using advanced intelligence, thereby allowing permitted content material and enabling safe, secure, and seamless use of the Internet. Additionally, advanced screen time settings allow a parent to determine the amount of time a child can spend on a specific app or online, all remotely from the parent’s own device.
Moreover, Netspark’s patented cutting-edge technology affords users the ability to maintain control over their devices even from a distance. Because Netspark is installed on the device, parents maintain control even when the child leaves the house with the device in his possession. Advanced settings feature uninstall protection, preventing the filter from being removed. Yet another unique solution offered is the on-device picture and video management.
For Torah-observant consumers, Netspark is particularly relevant. With amazing accuracy, it inspects and detects pictures and video content in real time. In addition, it can identify apps on the device to enable proper filtering by settings and time management capabilities, especially hard in iOS.
Netspark “Site Cleaning” ability lets you be in control and choose what you deem appropriate for your family. It removes only the inappropriate content (pictures, videos, and text) but leaves in the good content on the same pages; it is not just a URL blocker. Filter Management options include third-party support, with restricted exposure to unwanted content, as well as the ability to restrict without having to be exposed to the content, and the self-management option, which is less restrictive and has faster access. The company has upgraded its entire infrastructure and takes immense pride in assisting clients with installation and configuring their settings.
When used judiciously, the Internet can be a powerful and positive tool. When abused, however, it can have heinous consequences. Depraved, indecent websites are but a click away, and all too easily, sweet innocence is tragically transformed to addiction. Below are some of the many adverse effects of Internet addiction (from parentcircle.com):
Negative Effects Of Internet Addiction
Exposure to inappropriate content. In addition to being exposed to unwanted content, internet addiction allows a parent to get trapped by becoming a contributor and consumer of obscene content like pornography or be hooked on to violent content.
Sharing of personal information and pictures. If your child is addicted to uploading pictures on the internet, he or she may inadvertently upload pictures that violate someone’s privacy, or even some inappropriate personal pictures that he accepted through your phone or social media profiles. Furthermore, children may be asked to click inappropriate photos and be preyed upon by pedophiles and unethical agents. Children who supply these pictures unknowingly may also be hooked to the internet to see where their pictures have been uploaded and how many “followers” they have.
Anxiety, sadness, and depression. Kids or teens who spend most of their time in the virtual world gradually move away from the real world and start living in a world of fantasy. After a certain period, they become dependent on the internet to feel upbeat. When they are unable to access the internet, they start experiencing anxiety, sadness, and depression.
Sleep deprivation. Most kids and teens nowadays own smartphones and/or tablets, which they carry with them wherever they go, even to bed. Additionally, they use these devices to connect to the internet before going to sleep to catch up on what’s happening around them. While many youngsters may log off after a while, those addicted to the internet keep browsing for long hours. As a result they suffer sleep-related issues, including late sleep time, insufficient or restless sleep, and late waking time. Moreover, this sleep deprivation/disturbance can worsen or magnify symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Social isolation. Those who spend a great deal of time on the internet tend to become a part of one or several online communities, often developing close and inappropriate friendships with these individuals. To remain connected with these individuals, internet addicts remain online for hours, creating potentially dangerous situations. As a result of such behavior, internet addicts often become isolated from families and peers.
What are we, the adults, doing while our children—and grandchildren—are in front of a screen? It’s time to admit that screens are just digital pacifiers. We need to be honest about our children and their devices and to take control and keep them safe.
“A smart filter doesn’t over-block content,” said Gilead Grossman, VP of sales and marketing for Netspark.” “Our goal is to keep people safe while allowing them to easily access the content they want. At Netspark, we develop advanced technologies to solve the problems that people encounter while using the Internet.”
For further information regarding Netspark, visit NetsparkMobile.com, call 855-772-7530, or refer to the ad in this issue of the 5TJT. n
Rochelle Maruch Miller is a contributing editor for the Five Towns Jewish Times. She is a journalist, creative media consultant, lecturer, and educator, and writes for magazines, newspapers, websites, and private clients. She welcomes your comments at Rochellemiller04@aol.com. Read more of Rochelle Miller’s articles at 5TJT.com.