Impact of Covid on children and technology: mothers and fathers are increasingly confident and knowledgeable about online safety

  • February 09, 2022
  • Area: Education, Protection

According to a Google study, the biggest concerns for parents in Peru and the region are grooming and inappropriate content.

Google, in its mission to connect information with its users, has been working on developing robust tools that allow safe browsing on the Internet, maintaining privacy and security as pillars. For this reason, within the framework of Safe Internet Day, Google released the results of a study that seeks to understand the change in customs that families in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru experienced as a result of isolation policies.

The study focused specifically on the experience of parents regarding their children’s virtual education and contact with devices connected to the Internet and recognizes that two years later, the concerns of parents have changed, as new platforms and technologies and children adapt to the new normality. As a result, it showed that 68% of parents in Latin America feel more comfortable with their child using their device for educational use than before the pandemic.

Likewise, it showed how more than 70% of Peruvian parents feel more confident that children are well informed about problems related to online security and 78% of parents believe they have the necessary knowledge about security. online, something very positive considering how we are working collaboratively to have better digital citizens.

The study shows that many parents have changed the household rules regarding the time children spend online, most of whom use the internet between three and six hours, in order to allow them to interact with their friends and family.

This transformation generates greater unease given that the number of possible risks that boys and girls face on the Internet is infinite. One of the most mentioned, for example, is Grooming, which reached 19%, becoming the biggest concern among parents in Peru, followed by inappropriate content (15.8%) that they can find online, privacy and security (15.4 %), cyberbullying (14.3%), the reasoning ability to understand what is real and what can be false (12.5%), the possibility of sharing personal information (12%) and the concern to put into practice different habits healthy digital (11.5%).

Greater access, greater risks

In this regard, Evelyn Buenaño, manager of the Macroregion of Save the Children in Peru, commented that access to the Internet during the pandemic has increased exponentially, particularly in children and adolescents. “Children and adolescents have taken advantage of the Internet to be able to learn and bond with their friends during the isolation brought by the pandemic. However, this greater access also implied risks in digital spaces. It is more important than ever that fathers and mothers have conducive conversations with their children, that they give them confidence and guidance on the use of technologies”, she said.

Likewise, he highlighted the good practices that companies and civil society have been promoting to strengthen family support: “Tools such as those proposed by Google are enormously valuable and we must spread their use. Likewise, civil society organizations have been working on information campaigns to contribute to the safety of children and adolescents online”.

Tools for families

The proper use of tools and constant conversation and communication are essential to not only keep children safe, but also provide them with the best online experience. In Peru, 8 out of 10 fathers and mothers consulted claimed to have had a conversation with their children about online safety and 6 out of 10 are monitoring what their child does and the time they spend on each device.

“Safer Internet Day appeals to understand that connecting to the Internet requires knowledge to be able to navigate safely. From Google, there is a firm daily commitment with the objective of making the Internet an increasingly respectful and safe space for all people”, said Irene Velandia, Manager of Government Affairs and Public Policies for the Andean Region of Google.

In that sense, to mitigate the risks families face and address their concerns, Google recently released privacy and security updates to its products. “30% of parents in Peru have used the different parental control tools offered by Google. And to continue addressing your concerns, today we are updating our Security Center with a new structure designed to be more useful to people and new sections with products and their respective security controls”, said the Google spokeswoman.

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