UNESCO revealed an alarming statistics during mid-May. With 158 countrywide closures, 1 billion children around the world have been affected by schools’ shutdown. While online learning has bridged the gap, the Child Online Safety Index states, “Almost 60% of 8-12 year olds are facing cyber risk.”
Including cyber bullying, there are many ways through which children can be harmed in this unknown digital world such as gaming disorder, reputational risk, fake news, online sexual behavior, etc. The Child Online Safety Index explains that risk can not only mean serious harm. But, unfortunately this is a large number that has experienced a negative episode in the online world.
Cyber Risks for Children as per COSI
The Child Online Safety Index (COSI) have reported the following global statistics:
- 60% of children in the age group 8-12 have had a negative cyber experience
- 17% of kids experienced risky content (online meeting with strangers or sexual contact)
- 39% experienced reputational risks
- 29% exposed to risky content
- 45% affected by cyber bullying
- 13% at risk for gaming disorder
- 7% at risk for social media disorder
- 28% experienced cyber threats
Impact of cyber risk on a child
Cyberbullying can lead to a higher percentage of suicidal thoughts- according to a research by children’s society on Cyberbullying’s impact on young people’s mental health.
Experts say that cyber bullying is more dangerous than offline bullying. This offline bullying might stay in the schoolyard, but with cyberbullying there’s no limit. It happens in your child’s bedroom under your protection. It haunts the child each and every moment.
What’s the solution?
The child is put out there in the uncensored, unmonitored digital world where he/she cannot be supervised 24/7. The solution to save kids from cyber risks is to equip them with a filter. Empower them with digital literacy.
Yuhyun Park, a trained statistician and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, who pioneered the term “digital intelligence” or DQ, has started the global movement #DQEveryChild. “It started from a very personal thing,” she says. “I wanted my children to be wise people in this time of AI. Machines are smarter than us, they can be kinder than us, but I want my children to be wiser than machines and being wise means making the right decision as a human with values.”
Park has set up a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, to provide a free Child Digital Readiness Kit for families and schools around the world during the school shut-down and to help countries keep children safe online during the pandemic and beyond. “We specifically target 8- to 12-year-olds because our research shows the average children get their first device around the age of 10. That’s like getting a driver’s licence before you can drive,” she adds.