Keep children digitally connected and safe

It is crucial that they learn to balance benefits offered by technology with an understanding of their own and others' online behaviour

By Author  |  Anil Rachamalla  |  Published: 14th Jul 2020  12:31 amUpdated: 14th Jul 2020  12:55 am

More than 315 million students in India have been affected due to school and college closures. Online learning has filled a very little portion of the gap, leaving out economically disadvantaged students. It has also created new concerns like increasing screen time. Around 60 per cent of the students between the age group of eight and 14 years are exposed to cyber risk, including cyberbullying, stalking etc, according to newspaper reports.

This article is to help you understand how your child can be safe online and what we need to teach them about digital wellbeing.

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Today’s children and teens are growing up in a connected world. As they grow older, it is crucial that they learn to balance the benefits offered by technology with an understanding of their own and others’ online behaviour, and then develop effective strategies for staying secure and making a positive online impact.

This framework will help children and teens to develop at different ages and stages in the digitally connected world during the pandemic.

In this framework, children and young people will better understand technology and its influence on behaviour and development, and what skills they need to be able to navigate safely in the digitally connected world.

For a better digital wellbeing framework:

• Monitor digital etiquettes within the organisation through digital wellbeing framework
• Encourage and promote a discrimination and harassment-free culture through in-house nominated ambassadors/counsellors
• Consider making employees’/students’ performance along these lines part of their annual performance reviews
• Ensure that policies are enforced impartially and visibly
• Make sure all students and employees are aware of the current laws, regulations and policies pertaining to framework of digital wellbeing
• Develop and implement clear and comprehensive digital wellbeing policies and procedures.
• Provide students, employees with training and certification regarding company policies and philosophy on digital wellbeing and internet ethics

Aspects of digitally connected world:

1. Online identity and relationships

Nowadays, there are online identities in addition to real life identities. Children must understand differences between online and offline identity, be self-aware to shape online identities and the impacts of media

A few examples can be (i) Anything posted on social media shall exist for life (ii) Shaping your perception towards yourself in the real world (iii) Keeping in mind that employers tend to use online platforms to verify and validate the identity and relationships. Hence, it’s important to manage your online identities and relationships.

2. Online reputation and cyberbullying

Online reputation is all about how others use your information to create judgements and approaches to manage personal digital content effectively.
Make children understand how cyberbullying and its aggressions impact them. They must know effective reporting and intervention and on how cyberbullying is dealt legally.

3. Online information, screen time and wellbeing

Explore how online information is found, viewed and inferred, and prepare them for effective searching, critical evaluation and ethical publishing.
Understand the impact that technology has on health, well-being, lifestyle and screen time. It also includes understanding negative behaviours and issues amplified and an approach to house them.

4. Online security, privacy and copyright

Make children understand how personal information is used, stored, processed and shared. Provide an approach to limit impact on privacy and protect personal data and systems against any compromise.
Children should know ways to protect personal content and addressing likely outcomes of illegal access, download and distribution of material from Internet.

Conclusion:

Digital wellbeing in a digitally connected world is a framework that may help children and teens in development of teaching and learning as well as guide them to participate knowledgeably, responsibly and safely in an exceedingly digital world.

 

Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column about ‘The Impact of Technology on Human Wellbeing’ brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org

 


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