Study reveals internet can ruin family relationships


MANILA, Philippines — Can the Internet be a source of conflicts? A new study from online security firm says yes, and it does not just affect intimate relationships but family relationships as well.

Previous researches have revealed that children on average spend six hours or more glued to the screens of their devices.

Kaspersky Lab and iconKids & Youth researchers surveyed over 3,700 families in seven countries to know about how the internet is affecting their personal relationship with their children.

One in four of the parents surveyed say that their kids now prefer to go online rather than talk to them, with one in three parents believing the internet isolates them from their children. All in all, a fifth of parents and children say that the internet can cause family tension.

"It is only natural that using—and misusing—each other’s connected devices can become a cause of conflict for families. However, as we spend more and more time online, family dynamics are also changing. It is important that families maintain an ongoing dialogue about how to spot and respond to potential dangers, with parents and children together agreeing on the basic rules on how they can best navigate the digital world,” said Andrei Mochola, head of consumer business at Kaspersky Lab.

The survey also reveals that the problem may be worsened in the following cases:

  • If the device used by both parents and children gets broken,
  • If the device is accidentally infected by a virus while online,
  • If the parents had to pay for something their child had ordered or downloaded, and
  • If the parents had accidentally deleted some of their children's data

Janice Richardson, senior advisor at European Schoolnet, said that although the internet becomes a source of conflict in some families, siblings and extended family members take on a much bigger role in children's online activities.

"Children are instinctively turning to the person they perceive to be able to fix technical issues, advise on sites and security tools and provide more objective responses to delicate queries,” Richardson said, citing a recent study by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission.

She said that given the emerging trend, the importance of parents and guardians developing their own technical competence and building trusting relationship with their kids grow.

"At the same time, software and social media providers, too, should seek to develop more ‘family-friendly’ tools,” Richardson added. — Alixandra Caole Vila

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