Sunday 22 April 2018

Embrace technology 'to protect children'

Anna Farragher (12) from Cloghan’s Hill NS in Co Mayo shows Communications Minister Denis Naughten her Ninja Slayer game at the School Digital Champion Showcase at All Hallow’s College in Drumcondra. Photo: Maxwells
Anna Farragher (12) from Cloghan’s Hill NS in Co Mayo shows Communications Minister Denis Naughten her Ninja Slayer game at the School Digital Champion Showcase at All Hallow’s College in Drumcondra. Photo: Maxwells
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Parents should spend as much time and attention on their children's online lives as they do with more traditional pastimes such as sports.

One of the world's leading experts said "many are hyper-involved in offline lives, such as games or dancing or scouting, but are hands off when it comes to online lives".

Dr Sameer Hinduja is in Ireland on a month-long scholarship, working at Dublin City University (DCU) as well as talking to key professionals about the best practices in prevention and response to cyberbullying.

Many parents are afraid of technology and end up "frowning and shaking a finger at children", he says.

"Parents need to become fans of technology and build a rapport with their children. If the kids know that you are not always checking their phones and going through their texts, perhaps they will open up more often."

He is in Ireland on a Fulbright Special Award scholarship, working with the National Anti-Bullying Centre at DCU, and is giving a public lecture tonight at the DCU St Patrick's Campus.

He described a proposal from Fine Gael TD Jim Daly to fine parents for allowing their children to own mobile phones with unrestricted access to the internet, as "well-intentioned but unfair to parents".

He says the internet offers many benefits to children "and if we take that away from them because we are concerned about them accessing the negative, they are going to miss out".

Irish Independent

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