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Two thirds of Russian parents monitor their children online

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Internet in the hands of a child can be a tricky thing. On one hand, it opens up countless learning possibilities, on the other hand, the Internet is fraught with many dangers.
Internet in the hands of a child can be a tricky thing. On one hand, it opens up countless learning possibilities, on the other hand, the Internet is fraught with many dangers.

Two thirds of Russian parents monitor their children online


Kids and internet these days – it’s like there’s no separating them anymore, right? Internet in the hands of a child can be a tricky thing. On one hand, it opens up countless learning possibilities. Then they communicate with their peers, family members and teachers. It can even synergize communication and studying - some Russian educational endeavors fully utilize digital technology. Take, for example, a remote education project that was launched in Stavropol Region last year. It allowed children to ‘virtually’ visit school from wherever they are. A total of 34 schools were participating in this endeavor. According to Galina Zubenko, acting Education Minister for the region, the problem of not being able to attend school and, thus, of missing out on education, is especially pressing for disabled children; the region has about four thousand of such kids. Many are homeschooled – teachers find time to visit them at home. However, the official stressed that such education is still lacking and does not provide equal conditions for everyone. The project essentially turned classrooms into teleconference rooms, allowing children to participate regardless of their physical condition or location.

But what about the dark side of the internet? In theory, all schools in Russia already have parental filters, but as practice shows, they often don’t work as intended. Moreover, there is not only a lack of ways for parents to supervise their children online, there’s a lack of awareness of the problem and potential solutions to the problem – I guess that should be the focus for the authorities and NGOs in future. Recently Federation Council speaker Valentina Matvienko has proposed introducing a special IT safety and security position in kindergartens. She has made other proposals a well, such as creation of a unified monitoring system for internet resources which are used in educational facilities. Finally, she suggested that mobile devices should go through extra certification and should all allow parental controls – for now, no legislative action followed.

But what happens at home? Well, according to a survey conducted by the IT security company ESET, two thirds of Russian parents monitor their children’s browsing habits. Children of 74% of polled parents who have offspring 14 years old and younger have social network accounts in VK, one of the most popular social networks in Russia. Facebook and Odnoklassniki have 3% and 2% are registered in Twitter and Instagram. 18% of parents said their children didn’t use social network – well, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. Parents either use their own social network accounts to see what their kids are up to they know passwords of their children’s accounts. Some actually have a shared social media account for all family members – not sure if the last two options are actually allowed, but you know, who’s nitpicking? Interestingly, some children admitted to using fake names to try and evade parental monitoring.

A similar survey conducted by VoucherCloud company discovered that a comparable number of kids are social network users – 81%. However, the breakdown is different. 73% of teens ages 13 to 16 use Facebook; 56% use Twitter and 49% are avid Instagrammers. And yes, British parents are just as protective – 86% monitor their children online.
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