Children Are Increasingly Going Online

A recent report showed that most children have access to technology. 9/10 have a smartphone and more than half have three or more gadgets with which they can go online. While confidence seems high among parents ability to track and control their young child’s technology use. That starts to die away as children reach their teens. Interestingly, parents who believe that they have a better understanding than their children when it comes to technology and online activities seem to be more confident that they know what their children are doing, which again tails away as the children get older. Children of today are the most digitally connected generation. They have little or no comprehension of a pre-internet time and grow up in the age of the smartphone.

Adolescence Is Being Extended

Children today are more protected from the world by their parents than ever before. They generally spend a lot more time at home than they ever used to. That may well be a good thing, but at the same time it may hinder them in future. They are also far less likely to get a part time job, help in their community, engage in extra-curricular school activities, or complete their homework. The result is that they are spending massive amounts of time online using social media, though the parents’ influence or monitoring does seem to reduce cyberbullying both as a victim and as a perpetrator, so clearly parental guidance is beneficial.

Oscar and Alexa

Oscar is obsessed with the Amazon Echo, one of his first words was “Alexa”

Digital Use Is Starting Earlier

Professionals in child care Melbourne mums and dads rely on are seeing children using digital devices earlier and earlier. The average age at which children get their own phone is also steadily getting lower.  Most of them are smartphones, which means that parents need to be thinking about what their child is viewing earlier also. An issue that arises here is the age of the parents. With mums and dads in their 20s-30s, far more likely to feel they know more than their child. They can be confident they have things under control. Most parents feel they can adequately control their children’s use of traditional media, such as TV and movies. Less are as confident when it comes to interactive digital media.

Trying to Find the Balance

Parents seem to be doing reasonably well with managing the amount of time that their kids spend online. Less so with controlling the content they are watching, or at least which their kids allow to be visible. The overwhelming majority of parents say that they are monitoring their children’s’ online activity to at least some degree. Teens are being watched less than younger children. While there are definitely benefits to be gained from being digitally competent, there are obviously risks as well. A surprisingly small percentage feel that the risks outweigh the benefits. Being helpful in school work is seen as one of the biggest benefits, with potential stalkers seen as the biggest risk.

The digital age is here to stay and only time will tell if parents are currently adopting the right strategies. Kids’ digital use is only going to grow, and parents monitoring and supervision is likely to be increasingly needed.#

In collaboration with MediaBuzzer 

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