New Greek survey highlights importance of educating parents to children's internet uses
- Greek Safer Internet Centre
The Greek Safer Internet Centre (SIC) SaferInternet4Kids carried out a survey among 14,000 students aged 10-17 concerning children and teenagers' online behaviours in Greece, and presents some of the main findings below.
The internet is an amazing place that opens up new horizons for knowledge, communication and entertainment. It offers young people excellent opportunities and a wealth of activities to enhance their skills and empower their knowledge and creativity. Yet, the digital space knows no limits and accepts no centralised control. Due to this openness, significant risks lurk. Online harassment, addiction, cyberbullying, theft of personal data and misinformation are just some of the challenges today's parents and teachers have to face in order to ensure a safe and qualitative "digital life" for children.
While parental supervision and guidance are essential prerequisites for children to learn and adopt positive and safe practices online, the survey shows that a large proportion of parents in Greece do not dedicate enough care and attention to their children's internet uses, not setting limits and rules, even for the youngest ones.
More specifically, 83 per cent of the children (which consist in 50 per cent boys and 50 per cent girls) say they go online without supervision. Among primary school children, 65 per cent said that there is no supervision, while that figure rose to 87 per cent for middle school pupils and 95 per cent of high school students.
As can be seen from the children's answers, almost half of the parents (43 per cent) do not set limits on their children's internet uses. 33 per cent of primary school children, 42 per cent of middle school pupils and 64 per cent of high school students have no limits and rules when using the internet.
General recommendations from the Greek SIC
Based on the official guidelines of the American Pediatrics Association, children's engagement with the internet should not, for any reason, begin before the age of two. From the age of 2-4 years, children's online activities should be very limited, very selective in the type of activity they engage with, and always under the supervision of a parent.
For older children, it is very important to set limits and rules for internet use (time and quality of programs) and always with the supervision of a parent. Equally important to the supervision is the creation of incentives and opportunities, so that children strike a balance between their "digital life" and other activities (sports, hobbies, social interactions, and so on).
The use of social networks should never begin before the age officially permitted by the social media platforms. It is of outmost importance to always choose the right settings for the profiles of children (they should always be set to private mode) and to guide them to adopt good practices while online (such as never talking to strangers, not revealing personal data, never exchanging very personal photos, and so on).
From a very early age, adults must dispel the myth of anonymity when online. We should also teach children that respect and the rules of good behaviour that apply in real life, also apply on the internet – and finally, we must strengthen their sense of responsibility when online.
The internet is a wonderful world, full of opportunities and challenges. Let us help our children enjoy it with safety!
The results of the entire survey can be found on saferinternet4kids.gr.
Find out more information about the work of the Greek Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.
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