Everyone's going digital – even your kids! Can you keep up and keep them safe? As a Vodafone Malta Foundation initiative, we're here to help.

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For ongoing advice & guidance for online safety visit BeSmartOnline.

99.4% of primary & secondary school children have access to the internet*

– Do you know how to keep your kids safe?

*Children’s Internet Use and Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Online Experience.
A study commissioned by the MCA, April 2015.

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1 in 5 teens have been cyberbullied**

– Do you know how to recognise the signs?

 

 

**Vodafone Survey by YouGov among 4,720 13-18 year olds in 11 countries

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47.5 % of children in primary and secondary schools have lied about their age on social networking sites*

 – Are you aware?

 

*Children’s Internet Use and Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s
Online Experience. A Study Commissioned by the MCA, April 2015

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78% of children look to their parents for info on online safety.*

 – Are you ready to guide them?

*Children’s Internet Use and Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Online Experience.
A study commissioned by the MCA, April 2015.

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85% of children in form 4 use
the internet daily*

– Do you know what they are up to online?

*Children’s Internet Use and Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Online Experience.
A study commissioned by the MCA, April 2015.

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More than 50% of teens believe cyberbullying is worse than bullying offline**

 – Do you know how to help them?

**Vodafone Survey by YouGov among 4,720 13-18 year olds in 11 countries

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43% believe that cyber bullying is a bigger problem than drug abuse**

– Do you speak to your kids about online usage?

**Vodafone Survey by YouGov among 4,720 13-18 year olds in 11 countries

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Cyberbullying: How to recognise and deal with the signs

I would like to share John’s story – a 12 year old boy who comes across as confident and rather popular with friends. John was upset because his friends took a photo of him (without his knowledge) in a funny pose and posted it on Instagram. They then tagged him so everyone he knew could see it. He found this very hurtful. Just a few days earlier, these same friends treated him like he was special and a part of their ‘inner sanctum’. This blowing hot and cold is all part of the bullying cycle of abuse and John was well and truly roped into it. It had a detrimental effect on John’s self-esteem. This reminded me of the bullying behaviour I and others faced back in our secondary school years. The dynamics around cyberbullying are very similar to that of real life bullying we faced as children. However, online bullying is more challenged because life on social media does not stop when the bell rings and children make their way back home. When I was John’s age, I could feel safe, away from the bully when not at school and the friendships I built outside school gave me the strength to face the bully at school. John’s bullies follow him home on social media and this is a concept that people of my generation (or older) did not experience as children. Therefore, we need to develop a strong degree of empathy towards our children to try and understand the experiences they are going through when they engage with social media, which is a very important part of their... read more

The Weight of Technology – The Rise of iPad Neck

Headaches, pain between the shoulder blades, down the arms and through the fingers are symptoms that could indicate that your child may be too attached to their smart phone or tablet and may be suffering from iPad neck or iPad shoulder. Although in recent years we have become more aware of proper posture especially while using desktop computers in an effort to reduce and avoid computer related neck and back pain, the arrival of portable devices and therefore smaller screens has made ergonomic principles much more difficult to follow. Few can argue with the fact that our lives are now much easier because of portable technology, however this has definitely come at a cost. The use of smart phones and tablets encourages poor posture and upper back and neck strain. This is because our necks are forced into a forward position whilst looking down at the small screen.  Often these devices are used in awkward positions like slouching on the sofa or lying down in bed leading to further strain on the soft tissues in the back of the neck. Initially these awkward positions cause little more than discomfort which can easily be relieved by simply changing position or by a few simple stretches. However, prolonged incorrect posture will gradually lead to more severe issues which are not as easily relieved and often need some form of treatment. It is important to remember that we have one back that has to last a lifetime so here are some tips to help you and your children avoid neck and back pain because of technology. Be mobile and avoid staying stuck in the same... read more

The Worrying Realm of Gaming Addiction

Gaming addiction is on the rise, especially among adolescents. The difficulty in dealing with this growing concern is that adolescents suffering from such an affliction are often identified when the problem is already very complex and they have started missing school to feed their addiction. This highlights the important role parents play in preventing the problem from reaching the point of no return. Signs to look out for There are several warning signs of gaming addiction of which parents should be aware of. Adolescents with internet gaming disorder show classic signs of addiction, for instance: ·      they become preoccupied with gaming ·      they lie about their gaming use ·      they lose interest in other activities having been socially active in the past ·      they withdraw from friends and family ·      they have difficulty communicating with others ·      they use gaming as a means of procrastination or escaping difficult tasks ahead, like exams. How to help One way of helping adolescents escape the clutches of gaming addiction is to provide alternative venues of social connection organised specifically to address their social skills and communication competence. Internet-addicted adolescents need to feel that they are not alone in their situation. Bringing them together and coaching them through various social skills could help them develop friendships with peers who have similar interests. These young adults need a lot of support throughout the process since often they retreated to the online world following failed attempts at social interaction in real life. Gaming is often a form of escapism and therefore parents and professionals should consider the underlying issues that have pushed the adolescents in... read more

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6 GOLDEN RULES

 

Appreciate your child’s technological knowledge.

Be aware of the benefits and dangers of technology.

Spend time with your child using the technology they use.

Explain safe/unsafe use of technology to your child.

Keep up to date with technology

Pay attention to age ratings when choosing activities for your child.