By Asia Samachar | BRITAIN |
What are the dangers when a child goes online? It is more than just potential exposure to pornographic stuff. The other colossal challenge for parents is how to improve their digital literacy.
Realising the lack of tailor-made resources to help children thrive online, a corporate executive turn digital warrior mum decided to do something to help parents keep their children safe but thriving when they venture online, something almost unavoidable for most parents today.
Scotland-based Parveen Kaur founded KidsNClicks.com, a web resource that helps parents and children thrive in a digital world.
“My extensive experience in social and digital media raised my curiosity on the impact of technology on children. This area was particularly interesting to me as I was expecting my first child at the time and I wanted to learn more about how technology would shape her behaviour and thoughts,” she told Asia Samachar in an email interview.
With the limited information available to parents, she started sharing her opinion with others through various online media.
“I identified an information gap and filled that space through Kids N Clicks,” she said.
The venture caught the attention of bigger organisations in the space, such as Common Sense Media and Family Online Safety Institute. She said the site currently has over 80,000 monthly visitors and over 2.8 million views on Pinterest.
A few years ago, she authored a children’s book called “Little Bunny and his Computer” which tells the story of how young children may get tricked into sharing personal information on malicious websites.
Asked what is her biggest challenge when dealing with parents concerning digital parenting, she said: “When talking about internet safety issues many parents think ‘This will never happen to my child’. It is important to keep in mind that the risks are the same for all children and if it can happen to one child then there is always a possibility that it can happen to yours. Especially when the use of devices is not monitored and appropriate boundaries are not set for your child.”
Parveen was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, where her parents still live.
Asia Samachar caught up with Parveen via an email interview. Here’s what she has to say.
What is your background?
I was born and brought up in Jakarta, Indonesia. I got my undergraduate qualifications in the UK and went on to gain a Masters in Science (MSc) in Corporate Governance from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I worked for IBM and Ernst & Young for a number of years before moving into digital media consultancy.
I currently live in Edinburgh, Scotland, with my family. During my time here I’ve had the opportunity to work with a variety of charitable organisations around women empowerment and parenting. I’ve worked closely with non-governmental organisations in the UK and US and continue to be an invited speaker online and other events locally and internationally – including Malaysia where I was invited to speak at the Malaysian Cyber Security Conference. Some of my pioneering work has also been recognised by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
You talk about digital parenting? Tell us more.
Digital parenting is about raising resilient children who are growing up surrounded by the constant distractions of technology. It is about equipping children with the right skills so they can thrive in the digital world. It is also about educating parents with the right information so they can be good digital role models to their children.
What are the key components of digital parenting?
The most important part of digital parenting is to have regular conversations with your children and ask them questions relating to not just their real life but also their digital lives. Have open-ended questions about what your child is doing online and how they are feeling. Most importantly be interested in their digital lives.
There are also other aspects of digital parenting which involves educating yourself about the apps or games your child play, using parental control tools, setting boundaries and rules on the usage of technology at home and being a good digital role model to your child.
My website, KidsNClicks.com, has a wealth of information and useful tips and tricks parents can use.
What dangers do children face in the online world today?
There are many threats faced by children in the online world, such as, online grooming, online radicalisation, harmful content, misinformation, cyberbullying, falling for scams, and many more.
The best way to avoid some of the threats mentioned above is to be part of your child’s digital journey. This would mean that before giving your child access to the internet or a smartphone, it is important to ask yourself if you are able to commit to spending time with them online and teaching them how to be safe and smart online.
A few years ago, I authored a children’s book called “Little Bunny and his Computer” which tells the story of how young children may get tricked into sharing personal information on malicious websites. The book was well received here in the UK with many parents incorporating it to their children’s regular reading material. Constant engagement and simplifying important messages like these are key in ensuring children are fully aware of the potential dangers, and benefits, of growing up in a digital world.
What is the most common area overlooked by parents when dealing with children going online?
Assuming that just because a child knows how to play games online or download an app that they are digitally savvy.
Parents tend to forget that a child might not be emotionally ready to deal with some of the content that can be found online. For example, allowing young children access to social media and not understanding the impact of social media on children. Especially when social media is not made for children. Or is a child able to different between fake and real news? And many more.
While a child can have the technical skills needed to go online, it does not necessarily mean that they are ready to be left alone in the digital world.
Anything peculiar when dealing with Panjabi parents?
The risks faced by Punjabi parents are just the same for any other parents.
How does Kids N Clicks make a difference?
Kids N Clicks provides parents with the latest digital parenting news and trends. We cover the dangers and opportunities involved in some of the latest apps. We are an independent body and are not influenced by tech organisations, hence all the information we provide is balanced and unbiased.
What value-add proposition do you provide parents?
We breakdown information in a way that is easy for parents to understand. We understand that parents are busy and would like to get their answers quick, and that is what we aim to do, not to overwhelm parents.
We also provide parents with a Facebook support group so they can share their concerns with other parents and form a support network.
What kind of parents do you target for your website?
All parents who are giving their children access to the internet or screen time.
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