Freedom and Privacy in their Online Interactions
Some of us with older kindergarteners might have faced this already with online classes – they find our presence to be embarrassingly uncool in front of their teachers and peers.
The current generation actively uses the internet and various media platforms, at an unprecedented rate. If adults have difficulties extracting themselves away, what more young, vulnerable children, who have not developed the ability to control and manage their impulses?
We discussed how Covid-19 has made using the internet and various social media channels the norm; and the potential vulnerabilities they may face.
The Uncomfortable Truths about Online Interactions
Researchers who conducted the 2020 Child Online Safety report, which included data on more than 145,000 children aged eight to twelve years of age, found that about 60 percent of them had been exposed to cyber threats, which included exposure to cyber bullying, reputational risks, sexual or violent content, phishing, hacking, offline meetings and gaming disorders.
A more recent study conducted by the Straits Times found that two-thirds, or 66%, of children aged seven to nine in Singapore, use smartphones every day, with more than 40 per cent of them having their own Facebook accounts, while a quarter of them are on Instagram. This is despite the fact that the minimum legal age requirement for most platforms is 13 years old.
While 80% of parents surveyed agreed that they were concerned about their children’s online interactions, a third of them did not know who their children were interacting with; and 50% of parents felt that any interference on their part would negatively affect their relationships with their children.
Creating Awareness and Understanding
How do young children learn? They learn by observing, imitating and copying. This is how they learn to perform basic functions in life. Speaking, going to the potty, putting on their clothes – it’s all through observing, copying and imitating. Unlike adults, who have formed perspectives and opinions of their own to filter media that they view and watch, children have no such filter.
While parents may feel uncomfortable talking and discussing about cyber threats with their children – parents need to recognise that as long as your child has unsupervised, private time on any media platforms, he or she is already at risk; and it is time to have that conversation.
Read our blogpost here for our tips on how to guide your child’s understanding and use of media.
Our Human Limits
Understandably, we can’t be with our children 24/7, nor can we control everything they see, especially when they go to school, or engage independently on social media platforms. Especially for parents who have multiple children – how can we manage their usage?
How do we set a good example, with our own conduct at home and on social media platforms?
How do we nurture a good relationship with our children, so that we don’t appear to be a suffocating presence, while encouraging our children to speak openly to us about what they have encountered in their online interactions?
Read our guide on how parents can build their relationship, handle negotiations and difficult situations with care.
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Next week, we’ll be talking about our dreams and what the parents of today value most when it comes to their children. Academics? Values? Independence? Character, or Occupation?
Join us on 12 July for the next episode of Mummy Matters