New guide launched to help parents manage their children's online habits

A 20-page booklet on digital literacy breaks down ways parents can manage their children's screen time, protect their privacy online, and how to critically evaluate information on the Web. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Parents looking to bridge the digital divide with their young children and get concrete tips on managing their kids' time spent online now have additional resources to do so, as Singapore marks Safer Internet Day on Tuesday (Feb 6).

A 20-page booklet on digital literacy, produced by global think tank Digital Quotient (DQ) Institute in collaboration with the Media Literacy Council, breaks down ways parents can manage their children's screen time, protect their privacy online, and how to critically evaluate information on the Web.

It is part of this year's Better Internet Campaign led by the Media Literacy Council. The campaign, now in its fifth year, is in line with the global Safer Internet Day on Tuesday which aims to promote safe Internet use and responsible online habits.

The campaign will run until December and includes other digital awareness programmes such as advertisements and online videos. Parents will also choose from 40 digital literacy workshops they can attend, where the guidebooks will be given out.

Parents can also visit http://betterinternet.sg/ to find a digital version of the guide.

This year's campaign focuses on cyber-bullying, cybersecurity and how to discern fake news and false information online, which were the top three concerns highlighted by Singaporeans based on last year's campaign.

While last year's campaign focused on young active Internet users aged 15 to 35, this year's programme is targeted at parents of young children aged 8 to 12.

"We are doing more this year to support parents," said Media Literacy Council chairman Lock Wai Han. "Parents play a pivotal role in their children's well-being and face new challenges in today's digital society, as children are exposed to digital devices at an earlier age."

Advice given in the guidebook includes parents making pledges with their children as to when all members of the family cannot use their computers or mobile devices, limiting screen time to two hours each day, and following the Grandma Rule: "If you can't show it to your grandma, don't send it."

Dr Park Yuhyun, founder of DQ Institute, said parents often find it hard to regulate their children's screen time due to how common smartphones and computers are today.

"A lot of times, parents are concerned about their children's device use but feel powerless about how to talk to and manage them," she said.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.