Thursday, 24 Aug 2017
SCIENCE & TECH

When technology becomes “babysitter”

Updated at Thursday, 10 Aug 2017, 09:27
The Hanoitimes - Nowadays, technology is reaching every corner of life, even the children, exposing them to many risks from using digital gadgets, particularly cellphones and tablets, from the very early age. It’s now up to their parents to shield them from those risks.
Parents often give children tablets or smartphones to pacify them from having a tantrum. And so children are increasingly interacting with the gadget screens rather than with their parents. Therefore, using screen time as bribery or enticement becomes a trade-off with many inherent risks between parents and the technology “babysitter.” Dr. Mandy Saligari, a parenting expert in the U.K said  that giving children smartphones is like  giving them 1 gram of cocaine. 
 
Parents should pay more attention to children using smartphones
Parents should pay more attention to children using smartphones
At the seminar on protecting children from the internet  organized recently by the Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD), experts focused on analyzing risks for children as they go online. The majority are concerned that  digital gadgets acting like  ‘babysitter’ implies risks for children when they  access to the diverse source of information. On the other hand, they can easily be addicted to games and the social media. 

Furthermore, letting children play with phones exposes the phones to  virus attacks and which implies risks for their mental development.  “Worse, children may get access to “black” websites or websites with wrong information, negatively impacting their psychological development. In particular, children are exposed to the risks of being kidnapped or abused when accessing  those harmful content over the internet.” said Ysreal C. Diloy, expert from Stairway Foundation, who has successfully organized the policy campaign to bring teaching lessons of “Internet safety” into schools in Philippines.

No  parents can guarantee that they can  supervise  all the contents which their children access when using screen time. “Parents are not trained with skills to protect their children during screen time.  They are not even learning those skills,” said IT Internet Safety expert Ngo Viet Khoi. 

Many parents are shocked when their children become addicted to online games and social media. Experts at the seminar suggest they should spend time having  conversations with their children and guiding them how to use the technology safely.

In addition, with over 1/3 the Vietnamese population using social media as of nowadays, experts suggest parents to be careful when posting their children’s photos on social media, as it might expose them to the risks of being abused.  The government has issued a decree on people’s responsibilities in the social media, especially in protecting the children.

​In the face of risks of the screen addiction for children, the Executive Director of MSD Nguyen Phuong Linh said  that parents should take advantage of technology to help children become smart. Furthermore, whether or not children can stop relying on the technological babysitter is based on the supervision and education of parents.
Nguyen Tung - Thuy Tien
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