The Internet is an unlimited source of knowledge and entertainment. In the situation caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Internet has become a tool to which we move our social life more often than usual. We participate in the largest quarantine (isolation) in the human story.
According to a consumer survey conducted by UKE in 2019, the average declared time spent online during the day ranged from half to two hours (children – 40.7%, adults – 42.2%). In addition, boys declared a slightly longer online presence. However, the age of the child is important in the respect. The amount of time spent online increases with the age.
The Internet gives access to a variety of services. Shopping, medical advice, banking and even training can, and even should be done without leaving home. There has been a huge increase in our online activity, and at the same time the number of phishing attacks has increased. The fake emails allegedly sent by telecommunications service providers or banks, or the recent big case with the digital school registers, are very common nowadays (more information on: http://cik.uke.gov.pl).
It is very important to be attentive and also to warn children about opening messages that they do not fully understand.
The role of adult is to be a guide for a child and to teach them the rules of safe use of the web. Adults who use the Internet by themselves, have a much better understanding of what children use the Internet for. However the rapidly developing technology also creates problems for adults. Sometimes it is the children who become our guides, so we learn from each other.
A consumer survey shows that the most popular online services among children are listening to music, watching movies and playing games. We often use educational platforms, instant messengers and social media platforms (children 56.2%, adults 54.4%). The least popular online activities among children are emailing (39,4%) and visiting news services (42,7%), these tools are most often used by adults. The survey data relate to last year. Due to the need to stay at home, this year we can observe an increase in the use of educational platforms, instant messengers and media monitoring.
The survey also shows which social media sites and websites we use. The most popular website among children is YouTube (72%). The service enables free posting, streaming, rating and commenting on movies. Here everyone will find something for themselves. The youngest users most often focus on YouTubers, i.e. the idols of modern youth. Adults benefit from advices videos.
Facebook came second (children 49.9%, adults 47.4%). It is a social networking website where users can post comments, share photographs and post links to news. We have the opportunity to comment and follow other users. Unfortunately, on Facebook we can meet with negative content and so called “hate” – social problem of 21st century (more information on: http://cik.uke.gov.pl).
Every fifth young Internet user uses Instagram (children 22.4%, adults 18.7%) or Snapchat (children 20.6%, adults 16.2%). Other platforms are not very popular. Nearly 20% of young Internet users stated that they do not use social media platforms or services.
Children’s online activity can often be creative. They easily create websites, blogs, and become a YouTubers. It should be noted, however, that excessive use of the Internet by the youngest, and thus access to content not adjusted to their age can be the cause of many dysfunctions.
The sleep disorder, problems with concentration, alienation, problems in establishing social contacts are just the examples. Children who spend a lot of time online are primarily exposed to addiction. Therefore, it is very important to maintain proportions. They shouldn’t spend more time on the Internet than doing other things.
And although quarantine forces us to stay at home, time spend in front of the computer should be not only fun, but also education. Many institutions provide e-learning platforms. We invite you to visit our website cik.uke.gov.pl, where in the education tab #stayhome, everybody will find something for themselves. For younger and older children we have prepared crosswords, cross-sections and interesting facts from the world of telecommunications. For adults the #TalkToChild series is a lot of useful articles, from which we’ll learn how to stay safe online.
It’s a difficult time for all of us. However, we can spend it effectively and creatively #stayhome.