Listen to this story
Have your family members asked for your consent before posting your pictures online? Privacy-conscious parents do, but things are not the same when parents overshare. More than 70% of youngsters and teenagers wished their parents obtained their permission before posting about them, said a survey by Malwarebyte and 1Password. The survey found that nearly 35% of parents seek their children’s consent.
Parents may use social networking sites like Facebook to post pictures and details of their child’s achievements or their own. The study found that nearly 80% of them start posting their children’s photos and share details as soon as they are born. Details shared in such posts could include names, names of their schools or offices, grades, school or office trip details, dates, venue, etc. Posting it publicly where any stranger could use the information to stalk or harass the person in question can lead them to emotional trauma and fear, warns the study.
From those surveyed, nearly 75% of parents felt confident that they were maintaining online safety for their children. When teens were asked the same, only 51% of them felt that they were adequately supported online by their parents. Moreover, 72% of teens used their own techniques to avoid being monitored by their parents
Increased teen vulnerability
Teenagers are vulnerable to online harassment like sexting, stalking, cyberbullying, excessive comparison based on what others have or are doing in their lives, body shaming, etc. With an increase in the use of the internet, online peer pressure dictates how to be acceptable or appear happy has been found to cause severe emotional damage and even depression among children. Such negative observations of ‘filtered’ projection of one’s life could cause behavioural issues among teens.
A recent study on the mental health of adolescents and young adults published on the online medical journal Cureus.com revealed that 14.8% of young people were referred to mental hospitals for posing a risk to themselves or others around them, accessed online resources promoting suicide prior to their admission. Parents and children need to have an open dialogue to release the stress and anxiety caused by watching others. They need to talk in a calming environment to share what they think about themselves and how others impact their self-image. Also, having clear boundaries about how close one can get to online friends or colleagues must also be discussed to reduce fear in case something goes wrong, said the study.
Clinical Psychologist Sushma Panyam spoke with The Cyber Express to share some insights into having a healthy dialogue. “Responsible parenting starts right at the time of birth. Parents need to focus on using positive parenting strategies in this day and age,” she said.
According to her, general positive parenting tips are applicable while addressing children’s online security.
1. Manage your anger and anxiety before interacting with your child. Your child is likely to learn from your behaviors in a crisis situation. This will enable them to respond and not react in prospective difficult situations.
2. Ensure positive reinforcement and positive behaviour. When the child opens up to you, tell the child how much you value them. Use low-key punishment when required while showing them an alternative to the behaviors they have been punished for.
3. Use specific feedback instead of attacking them with labels
4. It’s best to manage your shock and disappointment when the child comes to you with a troubling situation. Instead of blaming them, assure them you are concerned about the current situation. Please do not give the child a hard time when they make a mistake. Help them through and have a conversation later.
5. Parenting is a challenging ball game in this day and age. Ensure to involve a good therapist when unsure of a situation.”
Disparity in security measures
“Although 76% of parents protect their children’s online experiences by installing antivirus software on devices at home, just 28% of Gen Z said their parents required them to use that software on their own devices,” said the study.
Technology and information sharing go hand in hand, especially when it is about having a healthy social presence within groups. Knowing about the latest developments in cybersecurity alongside the knowledge of various tactics cybercriminals use to cheat users is also very important to not take personal information sharing for granted, it suggested.