Children, the digital citizens who suffer from online abuse and rarely talk about the traumas they go through
The education, protection and health of children are priorities for any parent. Certainly, the pandemic has generated new concerns for them, being forced to find a balanced choice between providing children with education, alternatives for leisure and work. But the responsibilities of parents are not limited to the difficult period we are going through, nor did they start with it.
Parents lack of information about the online dangers that can traumatize children, lack of an open and sincere communication with them about their friends, concerns and passions, unrestricted access to technology and internet have made children digital citizens who suffer from online abuse and rarely talk about the traumas they go through. Minors who are online and have social accounts on various free platforms should be aware of both opportunities, because technology and the Internet have an essential role in today’s society, but also about traps. The results of the survey* conducted by ISRA Center for Telekom Romania show that 53% of children are not aware of the online dangers, and of those who say they have been assaulted, 42% confessed they chose to talk to friends, colleagues or other people, hiding from their parents what they went through. What’s worse, 19% of children who have been bullied on the internet say they have never talked to anyone about what happened to them.
In order to limit as much as possible the exposure of the little ones to online abuses, Telekom Romania offers to all existing and new Telekom mobile services customers, prepaid and postpaid, three months free access to the Kaspersky Safe Kids Premium application.
The offer can be activated until October 18th, 2020, by sending an SMS to the number 1333 with the text
“copil” (child). 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.
The Kaspersky Safe Kids Premium is available on both Android and iOS phones. The premium version of the mobile app includes the following features:
Monitoring calls and messages;
Locating the child’s phone on the map (geolocation);
Managing the time spent by the child on the internet;
Filtering online content, sites that can be accessed;
Availability on multiple devices: computer, laptop, phone, tablet;
Real-time alerts and notifications when suspicious online activities or restricted actions are detected;
Monitoring the battery level.
At the same time, Telekom Romania and Asociația Telefonul Copilului provide free tools through which adolescents can request support or counselling when they are victims of abuse, regardless of its nature, as follows:
www.116111.ro is an educational platform that gathers useful information on how to report cases of child abuse, but also how victims can seek specialized counselling;
HappyGraff is the first mobile application that provides access to children and adolescents to counselling services, directly from the mobile phone.
It works as a diary where teenagers can record their emotional states whenever they feel the need and have access to helpful tips on how to manage different situations with difficult emotional states. The mobile app can be accessed on handsets equipped with Android operating system and is available for download in GooglePlay for free. The application can also be downloaded from www.116111.ro website.
The toll-free number 116111 to which teenagers can call to express their fears, to talk about the issues that directly affect them and, most importantly, to receive help in case of emergency, number available from Monday to Friday, between 08:00-20:00.
The social workers and psychologists of Asociația Telefonul Copilului answer these calls and offer specialized counselling services. In its more than 17 years of existence, the telephone has rang more than 2,000,000 times.
Below is, under the protection of anonymity, one of the cases in which children ask for help from Asociația Telefonul Copilului. The data has been edited to keep the victim confidential:
“Hi, my name is Octavian and I’m 16 years old. I have a problem at school and I need advice. The problem is that I’m being harassed online.
At one point, a schoolmate created a fake Facebook page announcing that I was dead. Many people called me scared, including family members. I think it’s a very serious thing that we’ve come this far.
Moreover, my schoolmates take advantage of me. They always write me on social networks to do their homework, and I can’t refuse them, because I would like to be friends. I wouldn’t even want to tell my parents, because they will forbid me to use the internet anymore”.
*The Kids security research was conducted by ISRA Center for Telekom Romania, between August 17-27, 2020, on a nationally representative sample of 1.000 respondents, of which 200 children aged between 10 and 17 years. Data collection was conducted by phone and online.