There’s no doubt that living in the digital age, many things have become ‘convenient’ as a result. We are able to access everything we need on our devices (handheld or stationery), from on demand TV, emails, online shopping, instant messaging and oh…making a call!
As a result of the instant access to data in which we are granted, it’s very easy to be glued to our devices, providing us with hours of entertainment. The effects of too much digital consumption has been a concern for adults, however, a recent study conducted by Ofcom, has found that young children are spending more time on their digital devices that ever before. Parents have become worried by the amount of time their children are spending on their devices, in particular, the internet.
According to the study, the ages which spend the longest on their devices are 12-15 year olds. Most of the activity that takes place is on video streaming services such as: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube. 3-4 year olds are also spending a lot of time on tablets, due to the rise of interactive applications and the amount of kids programmes now available on YouTube. “The number of younger kids using electronic devices connected to the internet is growing at a rapid pace. This means that more people could become victims of cyber-attacks or face other threats, such as cyberbullying or offensive content. Thus, parents should become more aware of their children’s activities online and start educating them as early as possible” said digital privacy expert, Daniel Markuson at NordVPN.
Many may see the rise in digital interactivity a negative for the younger generation, but according to similar studies last year, content which was created by vloggers seemed to be the most popular among 3-15 year olds. As a result, it inspired many to become more creative and perhaps start their own vlog. However, the rising vloggers’ popularity may be an underlying factor for the increasing pressure to spend money online. Although kids understand that their favourite YouTubers get paid for product endorsement, this doesn’t stop them from buying promoted things.
Cyber-attacks are becoming more common, and users are becoming easily targeted. NordVPN have strongly recommended that parents spend time talking to their kids about the potential dangers surrounding online activity. Daniel Markuson explained: “Cybersecurity education should start at an early age when guardians are still authorities. Limiting certain online activities is often not the best choice.
Instead, one should try to explain to their children how important digital reputation, fact- checking, online etiquette, and safety are and how online advertising works. Being open and supportive will gain the child’s trust. Most importantly, a parent or guardian should set the best example they can,”