Conferences for parents on the main risks encountered by children online during the pandemic

More than half (54.7 per cent) of children consider the excessive use of digital technologies a major risk encountered during the pandemic, according to the study "Impact of COVID-19 on children in Romania", conducted on a sample of 5,000 children. Other risks identified in the analysis of Save the Children Romania, the Romanian Safer Internet Centre, include false information (39.5 per cent) and cyberbullying (25.8 per cent).

2021-02-01 Romanian Safer Internet Centre awareness cyberbullying, excessive use, media literacy/education parents and carers
Close-up on a camera screen while the online conferences are being recorded by Save the Children Romania

Isolation during the state of emergency, coupled with the closure of schools and the relocation of courses in the online environment, have significantly increased the time children are required to spend on the internet, as well as the risks to which they are exposed. Numerous studies show that excessive time spent online can have negative effects on children's emotional wellbeing and psychosocial development. Moreover, 32.4 per cent of the children participating in the study stated that they had arguments with their parents related to the type or duration of their online activities.
In turn, the parents that are beneficiaries of the Ora de Net programme listed the following among the biggest challenges in managing internet in the family: excessive hours spent online, the lack of digital skills and the successful completion of online school lessons. 

© Save the Children Romania

Given the massive impact the pandemic has had on the way digital technologies are used in the family, Save the Children Romania and Huawei support parents by launching a series of conferences on "Childhood in the Digital Age". Their role is to help parents better understand the challenges of the online environment and to support them with information and resources so that they can properly manage the use of digital devices in the family.

"The internet has fundamentally changed the world we live in, and the events of recent months have accelerated the pace at which we have all become more connected to new technologies to work, learn and even interact with others. As schools were closed and the lessons moved into the online world, children were extremely affected by this new reality, and parents were often put in the situation of not knowing how to manage the relationship with them from the perspective of courses, socialisation and risks in the online environment.

"That's why we brought together psychologists, education specialists and well-known bloggers to present complementary points of view and useful advice for parents, so as to help them overcome this period as easily as possible. We want to support children so that they can take advantage of the opportunities of the online environment, while being protected from risks” said Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of Save the Children Romania.

© Save the Children Romania

In the online conferences which the organisation held together with parents and specialists, four of the most important topics of the moment - disinformation, cyberbullying, excessive time spent online, and online school. The meetings, which could be watched live on the Facebook page of Save the Children, took place in July and August 2020: 

  • Thursday, 30 July – a focus on the characteristics of disinformation, the effects it can have, as well as the ways in which we we can protect children from this phenomenon. With the contribution of Ileana Rotaru (university teacher) and Cristian China-Birta (blogger).
  • Tuesday, 4 August – a focus on the concept of cyberbullying, which was defined and identified, to discover how we can prevent and manage it in groups of children. With the contribution of Alex Zamfir (blogger) and Andrei Chișcu (psychotherapist).
  • Friday, 7 August – a focus on the excessive use of the internet, its effects on children and the methods to keep the balance in the family. With the contribution Ioana Chicet-Macoveiciuc (blogger and book author) and Mihaela Dinu (clinical psychologist).
  • Tuesday, 18 August – a focus on the topic of emergency remote learning, pointing out the benefits and challenges of this new learning model, exploring ways to support children to learn better. With the contribution of Otilia Mantelers (blogger and parenting expert) and Ioana Cosma (trainer).

By watching these conferences, parents had the opportunity to develop a bigger picture on the methods available to them for making digital technologies a natural aspect of their family life. 

More details are available on the website of Save the Children Romania.

Find out more about the work of the Romanian Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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