Parenting in the Digital Age
TOUCH Cyber Wellness
A cyber citizen is someone who engages in activities like posting or consuming social media content, using email, or browsing the internet. Simply put, anyone on the internet is a cyber citizen .
In this digital age, there are many risks and harms found online, such as cyber bullying, gaming addiction, pornography, among many others. A survey commissioned by TOUCH and the Media Literacy Council found that while parents self-reported a good level of awareness towards online risks, not all of them are well-informed and are not actively addressing the online risks that their children might face.
However, 84 percent of parents recognise that education is key to help protect their child from online risks. Here are some tips to help you build a stronger relationship with your child while nurturing him/her to be a responsible cyber citizen and help make the digital space a safer and better one for all.
Be involved and communicate: The survey found that only 43 percent of children told their parents and sought their help when encountered with online risks. Thus, it is important for parents to have open and ongoing discussions about responsible use of digital technologies with their children. To foster stronger engagement and encourage your children to talk to you, refrain from embarrassing, blaming or judging them when they come to you for advice.
Have a healthy balance: It is important that your children do not spend too much time online. It would be good to have a digital detox once in a while. Use it to spend some time with the family by planning activities such as a picnic, taking walks or playing board games together.
Protect your personal data: Do not divulge your personal data to strangers or unknown sites online and keep your data safe by using strong passwords. Teach your child to check the credibility of the source before believing or sharing any information.
Stand up against cyberbullying: Being a bystander when you encounter instances of cyberbullying only sends a message to the bully that their behaviour is acceptable. Encourage your child to take these actions when encountered with such instances:
• Do not respond or forward the post or message as this would only draw more attention to it
• Keep a record of the harmful post or message as evidence
• Report the post or message to the social media platform or school if the bully is a schoolmate
• Offer your support to the victim
Respect others: We should always treat people with the same respect that we want to be shown. While we all have the right to our own opinions, it does not mean that we can be rude to those who do not share the same opinion as we do. Teach your child that there are polite ways to disagree and engage in discussions without putting anyone down. Here are some things you can do to practice respect in such situations:
• Stay calm
• Be open-minded to listen to other points of view
• When communicating your opinion, start your sentences with “I” instead of “you” to sound less argumentative 
Together, we can make the internet a safer and better place for all!
TOUCH Cyber Wellness (TCW) is a pioneer and leading non-profit agency that champions cyber wellness and media literacy education in Singapore. Since 2001, TCW has reached more than 320 schools and one million youths, parents, educators and counsellors through its education, advocacy and intervention efforts.
1. “What it means to be a cyber citizen? 7 benefits you’ve never thought of.” Cyber Citizenship, 16 October 2022, https://www.cybercitizenship.org/what-it-means-to-be-a-cyber-citizen/.
2. “5 Ways to (Respectfully) Disagree” Kidshealth, https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/tips-disagree.html.