Sunday, March 18, 2018

Children need guidance from parents and schools on handphone usage: An open proposal to the Minister for Education & the Singapore Government

The handphone is a useful communication tool in a globalised and digital world, and therefore it is important for children to network and learn what is happening in other countries (When to give your child a phone; last Sunday, March 11, 2018, The Straits Times).
Social media and the internet provides vast information which can help people understand each other’s culture and way of living. Through this learning journey, children with proper guidance and the right attitudes can easily get involve in charity work and contribute as useful members of society.

Communication is important to build strong relationships and therefore it would not be right to deprive kids of handphones as parents also need to keep in touch with them.  But discipline on the phone usage is necessary to prevent exploitation of kids.

We must be mindful that with technology advancing at such a fast pace, pornography is now finding its way into handphones and other social networks.   So, while parents are closely monitoring their children's computer usage at home, smut could be downloaded into children and teens' cellphones, without their parents knowing about it, thanks to easier and cheaper internet access. 

With computer games so easily available, children and even adults can become victims of game addictions, and when this happens, they will neglect their studies.

To this end, it is crucial that parents and schools become the first line of defence to manage exploitation of young minds. To begin with, it may become necessary to restrict the time children spend on the internet and handphones, and where possible a password by the parents can be used for kids to access the computer or the handphone.

Next, schools should invite the police and professionals from the addiction department of the Institute of Mental Health to give educational talks to children/students in the presence of their parents during the regular parents-students meetings.
Raymond Anthony Fernando


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