Get Started

Best Parental Control Solution for Your Family Devices

Start Free Trial

The Virtualization of Childhood

LAKSHMI on October 14, 2014

Internet usage amongst the world’s population has more than doubled between 2005 and 2013, from 16% to 39%. Given that the world population was 6.916 billion in 2013, this statistic points to a whopping 2.7 billion people entangled and engrossed in an expanding mesh. A recent study of media literacy among children shows that although children (ages 5-15) in general continue to watch television more than going online, tweens and early teens spend more time on the web than the box. 

Parent and child browsing on laptop

These children are most concerned about their image online – according to them, there were three frightening things about the net viz (a) “Bad things friends have written” about them (b) “Friends being nasty mean or unkind” to them and (c)  the pressure to “appear popular or attractive online”. The risk of gender stereotyping notwithstanding, girls appear to be more influenced by the internet than boys perhaps because of their natural proclivity to social image.

It is interesting that while parents restrict smart phone use time for children, there aren’t as many restrictions placed on the tablet, which, going by the many ‘l-o-l’-worthy online videos of infants and gadgets, has apparently emerged as a baby-sitter among many things. There is now also an increasing trend of using the tablet and other online devices to obtain information and knowledge for home and school work, a library-on-the-go, if you will.  This is a positive use of the internet among children but carries with it the onus of recognizing useful and reliable information against falsities. The absence of peer-review and censorship on the web makes it very easy for chaff to be sold as seed.

As with any emerging technology, there are more brickbats than bouquets to children using the net. The biggest concern is safety. The cyberworld mimics the real world, and the intersection of the two has been growing exponentially. The danger to children in cyberworld is just as real as in real world, or perhaps even greater because of the anonymity possible on the web and the lack of unifying rules and laws that govern and manage this parallel universe. Age-inappropriate information, cyber bullying and harassment are very real risks and must be taken seriously by the parent when a child enters cyberspace.

The internet media insurgence into childhood is a natural and real event.  As with any event involving childhood, the responsibility of safety and utility lies with the parent. The study shows that a parental role in educating children on internet safety is essential, and this, in turn, hinges on thoroughly understanding the risks and benefits of this medium.

This is a copy of the latest Mobicip Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Photo credit: GSCSNJ / Foter / CC BY-NC

Recent Blogs

How Instagram Tries to Nudge Users Away From Excessive Use - Does it Work?

As evidenced by increases in app downloads, app earnings, and smartphone penetration over the last five years, mobile application usage seems to be on the rise. The smartphone has managed to take up even more of our time. However, usage does not distribute evenly across types of mobile apps. Social

Online Safety Across Generations

For the first time in history, technology has become an integral part of three whole generations. This includes seniors, adult parents and their children. Technology’s reach can be largely owed to its easy adaptability and low cost availability. The good news is that this penetration is a global phe

The Best Gift for Parents? Parental Control Software

Talking to parents about their kids’ online lives is one of the job perks at Cyberwise. It’s always interesting to hear firsthand what parents worry about most when it comes to their kids and screens. Invariably, it’s this: screen time.One evening, while delivering a parent presentation at a school

Best iPhone Parental Control Software 2019

Protect Young Eyes is one of the most popular blogs helping kids and teens to stay safe from the dangers lurking on portable internet-ready devices. They released unbiased results after exhaustively testing and analyzing 13 parental control solutions available on the market today.  Qustodio, Circle,

The Importance of Media Literacy: A Parent’s Guide

We tend to put ‘the media’ under a single umbrella. In reality, however, not all media is the news media! The media encompasses books, films, music, TV shows, video games, magazines, podcasts, social media, newspapers, music videos, web forums, newsletters, and much much more.While we’re all aware o