The Internet has revolutionized many things, including how to be children and adolescents. But the increasingly virtual relationships that can be created through smartphones are not always suitable for children. Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference explained the risks for the children who are given their mobile phones too early and without proper preparation. We talked about it with Dr. Marco Nuara, pediatrician at Humanitas.
The risks of cyberbullying
Having a mobile phone between 8 and 11 years of age puts children and adolescents at an increased risk of being subjected to cyberbullying. In a study of 4,584 students, 9.5% of children stated that they were victims of cyberbullying and that this risk was directly proportional to their exposure to social media and texting among adolescents. The only solution is to provide young people with sufficient technology to make and receive calls but not to surf the Internet and applications. If you can’t do without giving your child a mobile phone, it will be important to devote time and space to a proper education on the use of this tool.
The importance of digital education
Having a mobile phone also requires preparation. According to the experts is important to accompany children on this journey before they can get hold of phones and tablets, if they can access the Internet without protection. However, surfing the Internet should always be an activity controlled and followed by the watchful eye of an adult, who has the task of revealing to children all the pitfalls of the network. Children should be informed about the possibility that people who contact them online might lie about their age and gender. Only in this way the children will be prepared for cyberbullying which, as psychologists say, has no less impact than what they physically experience in reality.
Symptoms to keep an eye on
Isolation, too much mobile phone and the seemingly unfounded request to skip school are among the alarm bells that parents should not underestimate if they have to deal with teenagers who habitually surf the net without supervision. Children who are victims of cyberbullying can develop depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts that only the correct and appropriate use of technology can prevent and avoid.