The use of ICTs by children and adolescents

As we mentioned in the previous article, there are three online risks that we will expand on here, as well as what can parents do about these risks with children and adolescents?

Content risks:

Nowadays, being able to access explicit inappropriate images such as pornography, violence or the treatment of the female body as an object; it's easier than ever. The big problem more than the amount of content is the lack of control over what is seen and the age at which it is accessed to understand what is happening and why.

Contact and conduct risks:

Cyberbullying, cyberbullying and grooming

Cyberbullying by another child: It is when a child is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated or shamed by another child through the internet, interactive media, digital technologies or mobile phones. Knowing when risks translate into real damage is very difficult. However, the consequences for children and adolescents can be serious and continue for years. Mental anguish, depression, and actual physical injuries, including self-harm and suicide. Seeking protection by going home or seeking to be alone, such a safe haven does not exist in a digital world.

Cyberbullying by an adult: It is when a child is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated or shamed by an adult through the internet, interactive media, digital technologies or mobile phones. Today it is easier than ever for adult bullies and those who harm children to contact potential victims around the world, share images of their abuse and encourage each other to commit more crimes. It also allows stalkers to remain anonymous and go after many victims at once.

Grooming: This is the name of the behavior of an adult who performs deliberate actions to establish ties of friendship with a boy or girl on the internet with the aim of obtaining sexual satisfaction through erotic or pornographic images of the child or, even, as preparation for a meeting. Being grooming a process that can lead to sexual harassment of an adult through online platforms, bullies often generate a false profile in a social network, chat room, forum, video game or other, where they pose as a boy or girl and establish a relationship of friendship and trust with want to bully.

It is essential that children and adolescents understand that behind the profile of a user or being a user of a social network, there is a person and that, therefore, any act of aggression, violence, mockery, harassment or discrimination carried out on the internet has consequences in the real life of the affected person. Talking, exchanging opinions, reflecting and helping to raise awareness is one of the best ways to prevent both from doing and from being victims of situations of harassment or discrimination.

What can parents do?

-The responsibility of parents is to protect their children, all of them are going to take risks online. The sooner we talk to them about everything they are experiencing, the better. We need to promote spaces for dialogue and reflection, without generating anxiety or fear.

  • Beyond alarming us, the important thing is to inform us.
    -At the same time, it is essential to act in a coordinated manner, joining forces with the school and with other parents. That is why it is important to start as soon as possible.
    -Education by example is also a key element. Parents' behavior with regard to their own electronic devices becomes a model for their children.
    How much time do we spend connected?
    What are the contents and what use do we make of them?
    Am I being an example for children and adolescents?
    I want them to imitate my behaviors and applications online?

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