The lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the accelerated adoption of online services and to high consumption of digital content, including among children. They spend today more time online than ever before – to learn, to play and to make friends. This is also due to the change in the mentality of their parents regarding the use of technology and the Internet. According to the results of the most recent survey conducted by ISRA Center for Telekom Romania, 75% of parents consider the Internet an important and very important component for their children’s development.
Parents’ permission to access the Internet does not mean controlling the activity that their children carry out online. 47% of parents believe the Internet is used for educational purposes by children, while only 27% of children say they use the internet for online school and homework. In reality, the Internet has become the new playground, 29% of children use it to relax or to have fun, compared to 6%, the percentage of parents who think the same.
But the Internet is full of dangers – from cyberbullying, to online predators, to inappropriate content and more, of which, unfortunately, parents are much less aware, compared to the dangers “in the real world. In contrast, online dangers are often hidden and invisible.
To help parents be aware of the risks to which their children are exposed, Telekom Romania has brought online dangers to the real world by creating ”The Online Park”. This is a unique social experiment specially created to face the parents with the visceral threat of online dangers.
Each “attraction” in park represents a genuine online threat:
- Chat Balloons stand – presents parents with acronyms that kids use in online chats;
- Shaming Mirror room – demonstrates the painful effects of cyberbullying using comments taken from actual online conversations between children;
- Secret Photo Friends – shows the dangers from online predators lurking in chatrooms, on social media and in games;
- XXX Toys game – conveys the message about exposure to inappropriate content affecting children.
No children has been emotionally or physically harmed during this experiment. They just had fun, whilst the emotional impact on parents was overwhelming. It was like a cold shower, a wakeup call for the parents to become more vigilant to the digital consumption of their kids and the associated threats.
“We believe that some situations do not exist just because they do not happen to us. We are only truly aware of the dangers and repercussions when we face them. Through the social experiment we carried out, we wanted to sound the alarm to parents, who need to be more informed about the activity their children carry out on the Internet and to have the necessary tools to protect them from the invisible dangers, which sometimes have dramatic consequences in real life. We recreated the online threats, making them tangible and visible into the real world, so that parents could see what their kids might face online and how they would genuinely react in such situations of cyberbullying, digital predators, or unappropriated content. The authentic parents` reactions really shake you”, said Andreas Elsner, Chief Commercial Officer, Residential Segment, Telekom Romania.
In order to make online a safer world for the children, and to help parents protect their kids and be more aware of what they do online, Telekom Romania has reintroduced the Kaspersky Safe Kids Premium Application in its offers. Thus, until October 18, 2020, all existing and new Telekom mobile services customers, prepaid and postpaid, will be able to activate three months free access to the Kaspersky Safe Kids Premium application. At the end of the three months, customers will pay only 1 euro (5 lei)/month, VAT included, or 1 euro credit in case of prepaid services.
To activate the service, the customers must send a free SMS to 1333 with the text “copil” (child).