Kids And Non Verbal Internet Behaviour

SHAILA on February 20, 2013

When speaking about non verbal communication, a figure that’s often thrown at us is that 93% of communication is non verbal. How accurate this figure is, we do not know as it’s difficult to study dynamic human behaviour. But what we can state with absolute certainty is that most of our communication occurs at the non verbal level. Deciphering it is sort of ingrained in our subconscious mind.

Norma Desmond / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

If you see a sudden increase or decrease in your child’s internet activity then consider it as a warning bell   As watchful parents, interpreting our children’s behaviour is second nature to us. Though children now-a-days are hooked to the internet and rarely communicate with us, we know what’s going on in their world. Here are a few tips from a concerned parent which will help you identify a problem (if any) much quicker, and nip it in the bud.

  • Something is just not right if your child withdraws socially or gets upset after logging off the internet
  • Has trouble sleeping, loss of appetite and is either gloomy or tense

These signs are a call to action.  In all probability, your child is being cyber bullied. DoSomething.org states that 81% of young people believe that it’s easier to escape with cyber bullying than by bullying someone in person.   

Child behaviour, or for that matter even grown-up behaviour, on the internet is predictive in more ways than one. A recent study by Sriram Chellapan revealed a close link between online surfing and depression. Mr. Chellapan and his colleagues conducted a study which revealed that depressed students surf the web differently.

  • They increasingly share files like music or movies
  • They check emails and face book messages frequently. Research by Janet Morahan-Martin and Phyllis Schumacher, both psychologists, shows that loneliness draws people online for the increased potential for companionship, and it indicates high anxiety levels.  
  • Further, they frequently switch between different activities like gaming, chatting or checking emails. This happens due to poor concentration which is again a sign of depression.

A recent report summarising the internet related experience of children from 33 countries participating in EU kids Online states that 61% of children access the internet from their rooms. This is a relatively new phenomenon due the prevalence of internet enabled music players, smartphones, tablets, and even gaming devices.

So what should parents do in this day and age? You could use an internet filtering and monitoring app, like the one from Mobicip, of course. But is that enough? It is even more important to engage them in conversation about their online activities, watch their behaviour when online or after, and generally being aware of what is going on. For instance, if you don’t know what POS or Code 9 means, as your child today.