The world we are living in has made us evolve digitally. Digital has turned our necessities into luxuries. Covid-19 has eventually made us dependent and move to be digitally available for all sorts of work. It has made one's life easier and go-getting in nature even during this pandemic. But with its good side always comes the bad side as well. The digital world has shown how people can make use and misuse of anything and everything that revolves around them. Being aware and still learning about this new normal life, we are trying to update ourselves in every walk of life, to walk hand in hand with the future generation. Covid has forced us, parents, to give digital devices to our kids. But do our kids know how to use these gadgets cautiously? Or are these smart gadgets smarter than our kids? Before the existence of the Digital world, bullying was in person and used to happen in schools, at bus stops, while playing on grounds, etc. Once the child was back home, he/she used to feel safe and could speak about it to their parents. With the evolving time and technology, bullying has entered our homes in the form of Cyberbullying and the worst part is that we as parents are not aware of it most of the time. It can occur with our child even in the safe environment of our home.
In a recent study, 7 in 10 young people experience cyberbullying before they hit the age of 18. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI - 2019), children between the age of 5 and 11 years account for nearly 15 % of India’s active Internet users which is almost 66 Million Internet users in the country. Also, According to an Online Study and Internet Addiction conducted in February 2020 for respondents in the age 13 – 18 years, 22.4 % of respondents who used the Internet for more than 3 hours a day were vulnerable to online bullying and 28 % used the internet for more than 4 hours a day faced cyberbullying. Threats to children’s internet safety have also increased as invasions of privacy, cyberstalking, sexting, harassment, and abuse. Several reports are also saying that the searches for 'child porn' have multiplied during the lockdown period.
In today's world having social media, the profile has become a mandatory part of every person's life, be it an Adult or a Kid. It is more of a status symbol for kids and a few adults too. People prefer to have a virtual connection rather than meeting in real life and you can blame it on the current pandemic situation. Kids today are so engrossed in the Internet, online games, and social media that they are not aware of how they are becoming prey to CyberBullying, Malware attacks, Hacking, Stalking and the list is endless. Unknowingly they become a part of such activities or find themselves trapped in certain unpleasant situations and do not know how to overcome such scenarios. In most cases, even the parents are unaware of their kid’s involvement / any such situation the child is in. That's where Digital hygiene comes in and plays an important role in safeguarding our kids. The way Personal Hygiene is an important aspect of our life and we as parents teach our kids to practice personal hygiene as a part of a daily ritual to keep themselves protected against any virus or infection and prevent them from falling ill. So is Digital Hygiene. It is a practice that needs to be followed on a daily basis in order to protect oneself from the harsh world of the internet/Cyberspace. Digital Hygiene can be looked upon as maintaining device hygiene and online or social media hygiene. For kids it should be like following certain safety rules the way they follow traffic rules or road safety when they are on the road, however, it's Digital this time. But how do we educate our kids when most of us are unaware of the dangers waiting on the other side of the cyber world or are still learners?
The Digital Kiddo has taken a pledge to help educate our kids and make them aware of Digital Hygiene. We are running a Power- packed workshop especially for kids in the age group of 7 to 12 years and help them understand the dangers involved in being connected to the digital world, what Digital Hygiene is all about, why it is important, and how to follow it. Kids will learn about the digital devices being used and how to protect them. Online/ Social Media Hygiene, Importance of personal data and privacy on social media, Influence of social media, addiction and mental health and how to safeguard themselves from the dark side of the internet. We are here to spread awareness among our kids about the different ways in which cyber crimes can take place.
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