Singapore teachers more concerned about cyberbullying than parents, Google survey shows

Singapore teachers more concerned about cyberbullying than parents, Google survey shows

The mismatch in priorities among parents and teachers indicate a need for greater collaboration in their efforts to develop digital literacy among children.

File photo of child playing mobile game
File photo of a boy playing mobile game.

SINGAPORE: Teachers in Singapore are most concerned about preventing cyberbullying when it comes to teaching children about online safety - a contrast to parents here who view privacy and security as top priority, a new Google survey showed.

READ: 3 in 4 youngsters say they have been bullied online

Released Monday (Mar 18), the study showed that cyberbullying came in fourth in parents’ priority list, while teachers ranked teaching children about privacy and security and protecting their personal information second. 

Additionally, only half the parents interviewed were satisfied with online safety education offered in schools, while more than 7 in 10 (76 per cent) teachers interviewed felt that parents are not doing enough to keep their children safe on the World Wide Web. 

Google told Channel NewsAsia the survey did not require parents to indicate the reasons behind their choices, so it is not able to elaborate further on why parents did not view cyberbullying as a more pressing concern. 

The survey which showed gaps in educating children about online safety was conducted last December with 400 parents who have at least one child under 18 living at home and 200 teachers who taught students between ages six and 18 in the past year. 

Google also conducted its online safety survey with more than a dozen other countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and India. 

KIDS HERE YOUNGEST TO GET INTERNET DEVICE

The importance of teaching children how to stay safe online takes on greater importance considering they get an Internet-enabled device at a very young age. 

Google said the average age in which a child in Singapore receives his or her first Internet-connected device is eight - two years younger than the global average. Children in Indonesia are the last to receive such a device at age 11, it added. 

“With children getting early access to the Internet, both parents and teachers are more concerned about child safety online and recognise the importance of digital literacy skills in young children,” the press release on the survey said. 

A 2018 study by international think tank DQ Institute showed that 54 per cent of children here aged between eight and 12 are exposed to at least one cyber-risk, including cyberbullying, video game addiction, offline meetings and online sexual behaviour. 

READ: 54% of Singaporean children exposed to at least 1 cyber risk, study shows

However, teachers here still don’t feel equipped enough to teach children about digital literacy and safety effectively, with 96 per cent of them expressing this inadequacy, the survey showed. 

This is despite Singapore, along with the UK, having the highest percentage of teachers (37 per cent) among the countries surveyed to have attended a training/seminar/workshop on online safety and digital citizenship in person, according to Google.

On its end, Google, who has been a partner of the Media Literacy Council (MLC) since 2012, has helped in this regard by organising workshops for educators and host IT heads of departments. It has also organised nine digital parenting workshops reaching more than a thousand families to date, it said. 

“With support from parents and teachers, we hope to work with the community to educate children on the risks and enable them to become confident navigators in the online world,” said Google’s User Education and Outreach manager for Trust and Safety Lucian Teo.

Source: CNA/kk

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