Published: 02nd March 2021
How much Netflix and Instagram is good for your child? This initiative is what every parent needs
Youth Online Learning Organisation's Digital Parenting initiative trains parents about how they can regulate and keep an eye on their kids' online activity
The pandemic has forced parents to relinquish their phones to their children. With classes going online, smartphones soon became the new classroom. But the phone doesn't only work as a device to connect you to your online class, does it? It holds a world of possibilities and also a world of danger, especially for the easily impressionable. So what can a parent do about it?
It is with this thought, that Goa-based organisation, Youth Online Learning Organisation (YOLO) came up with the concept of Digital Parenting, where they not only make parents aware of the perils of unlimited internet access but also how to tackle them.
So how do they do it, exactly? Amitabh Kumar, the co-founder of YOLO, explains, "Our goal is to spread awareness about this new type of parenting. To achieve that, we engage in a two-step process. Firstly, there's awareness research, where we reach out to parents with some questions. Most of the parents don't have any idea about the questions. These parents then proceed to the second step, where they participate in workshops. At the workshops, we not only train them on digital parenting but also answer their queries. Some questions like what age should a child play games on the phone or at what age should they be allowed to watch shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are answered."
Amitabh says that they have been working on the Digital Parenting initiative for a while, pre-COVID, but it was during the pandemic that the initiative got a boost. Explaining how a parent can now keep an eye on their child's internet activity, Amitabh says, "What's most important for a parent is to know what the internet can do for their child. The experience will be vastly different for a five-year-old and a 13-year-old. The parents should know the pros and cons of the internet. After knowing the problems, parents should discuss them with their children and not avoid the issue. Then, they are also asked to customise the solution to the child's needs. It is a long process of two to three months and that's what the workshops train the parents in."
YOLO hires interns, generally college students. "A lot of these interns became digital parents for their younger siblings. During the workshops, they were able to understand the need to remain vigilant when it comes to their siblings," says co-founder Prem Prakash. YOLO, which was launched in April, last year, also conducts online safety workshops for organisations like the police force, government offices and even children living in slums.