Several news reports and letters raised concerns about the amount of time children are spending on the Internet (More children getting help for Internet addiction, July 28; and Planning needed to develop healthy habits in children, by Dr Rebecca Chan, Aug 2).
While I agree that parents have the responsibility to inculcate healthy lifestyle habits in their children, I am also cognisant of the challenges faced in the current learning environment.
As a stay-home mum, I have more control over how much time my son spends on online activities.
However, since he started primary school this year, I have been facing increasing challenges in trying to limit his online activities.
The school subscribes to a few online e-learning resources, such as:
• Koobits - A platform for children to practise maths; the school teachers set assignments on this platform, and children can earn points for completing tasks, which can be used to redeem games.
• EZhishi.net and XueLe.moe.edu.sg - Chinese teaching and learning platforms.
• Moo-O -An interactive software and website to help children master reading fluency and speaking skills.
My son spends 10 to 15 minutes on each site to complete the activities, or up to 40 minutes to an hour in all.
I acknowledge that these are useful and helpful resources to complementclassroom teaching, but it is becoming hard to limit his online activities when there is a legitimate reason to go online.
While we often associate online addiction with frivolous online gaming , we need to accept that online educational resources that start out as a tool to help children in their learning could gradually breed an obsession or addiction.
I am constantly in a dilemma when it comes to managing my son's online activities. I cannot imagine how much more difficult it is for working parents.
There is a need to recognise that when such platforms are introduced through the school, it leaves little leeway for parents to dissuade their children from using smart devices, and this may just be the beginning of the slippery slope towards online addiction.
Lee Hui Ling (Madam)