Experts say parents grapple with internet-related issues and mental health problems that did not feature in previous generations. Parents have always worried about their children’s friendships but family therapists say those concerns now centre around social media and cyberbullying.
Family psychologist Collett Smart says a lot of parents assume their teenagers are more socially and emotionally aware on the internet than they are. She says teenagers are also reluctant to tell their parents they are having issues online because they are afraid they will take away access to the internet.
Ms Smart advises parents to keep technology out of the bedroom so it is easier to monitor use, to talk to teenagers about what’s happening on social media and to know their children’s passwords.
5th Graders designed a Digital Citizenship & Cyber Safety Game in Minecraft during an after school technology club. The game was entirely built by the students and this was their first try at gamification for an educational project based learning experience in the school library.
A worthwhile video for any student who loves using Minecraft.
1. Teach your children how to cross the digital street
2. Help your children pursue their passions online
3. Help your children manage their digital “brand”
We need parents to act as important models and supports in their childrens’ explorations online. We need, parents and schools alike, to get past the fear that holds us back from connecting with young people when they need us most. Only then can we help them travel far and learn from the journey once they cross the street to encounter the world.
But half of them are under 18 – meaning that the site’s active user base consists largely of children.
Part of the site’s problem is that it’s a social media site with virtually no privacy settings and no real identity controls.
Facebook, by contrast, has made efforts to ensure that a high percentage of its accounts belong to real people – and it deletes the accounts of fake users.
It also has privacy controls. You can lock down your account completely, if need be, shutting out the world.
You can’t do any of that on Ask.fm.
Now it seems that Ask.fm is in the process of changing its safety policy. TechCrunch reports
Ask.fm said today it will make the report button more visible, and will be adding a dedicated report category for ‘bullying and harassment’ — committing to making these changes next month. It also said it will increase the visibility of an (extant) option to opt-out of receiving anonymous questions to help users moderate the kind of content they receive from other users. This change will be implemented in October.
Two thirds of 12-13 year olds (67 per cent) used a social networking service (SNS) in the last four weeks on a computer, 85 per cent of 14-15 year olds have done this, as have 92 per cent of 16-17 year olds.
The younger age group (eight to 11 years) are active social network users – 78 per cent of eight to nine year olds and 92 per cent of 10-11 year olds have used a social network. The most popular social network amongst this younger age group was YouTube—more than half of the eight to nine year olds surveyed (53 per cent) and the majority of 10-11 year olds (69 per cent) had used this site.
The majority of 12-17 year olds reported having used a social network,– especially those aged 14-17 years (97 per cent of 14-15 year old and 99 per cent of 16-17 year old internet users).
Facebook was the most popular social network service for 12-17 year olds. The majority of Facebook users use the site at least daily and in some cases, more often. For example, the majority of Facebook users aged 14 and over in our study were more likely to use Facebook more than once a day (47 to 50 per cent) than daily (32 per cent). (page 8)
Twenty one per cent of 14-15 year olds reported having been cyberbullied, compared with four per cent of eight to nine year olds. Reported experiences of cyberbullying amongst 10-17 year olds appears stable since 2009, but has marginally increased for the youngest age group (eight to nine year olds).
The children and young people who reported that they had been cyberbullied were also asked who they told, and the majority did tell someone. All the eight to 11 year olds who had experienced cyberbullying told someone, and the majority of the older children did so as well (89 per cent of 12-13 year olds, 93 per cent of 14-15 year olds and 87 per cent of 16-17 year olds told someone).
Thirteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that within their group of friends, either they or someone else has sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of themselves to someone else. Eighteen per cent of 16-17 year olds reported that they or someone within their group of friends had received sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photos or videos of someone else. Parents underestimated the extent to which their children were exposed to sexting.
Every era has its own moral panic, and there’s no doubt in many minds that the peril stalking today’s children comes cloaked in the garb of social media. It’s not surprising that many parents, teachers and health professionals are worried when headlines regularly implicate online social media as a factor in everything from school bullying to teen suicide… The truth is that most kids above a certain age use social media and online networking sites, and the vast majority do so without major incident.
If you read the comments on pretty much any article about the internet gone wrong you’d be forgiven for thinking that for most kids it’s a jungle out there and that inattentive parents are to blame, but the actual figures show that only 3% of children using the internet experience some kind of threatening event online and 98% of parents implement safety and security strategies around internet use at home.