More and more children and adolescents attracted to online challenges or challenges, which arouse interest but which are dangerous. This is demonstrated by recent news events, which have highlighted the serious risks to which minors are exposed.
For this reason Save the Children, the organization that has been fighting for over 100 years to save children at risk and guarantee them a future, is launching today on the most popular social channels a new pressing and engaging video made by creator and youtuber Pika Palindromo, The goal is to reach together, in a direct and effective way, the greatest possible number of parents and adults of reference to invite them to play an active and positive role with girls and boys, girls and boys, to prevent or contain any risks of deleterious consequences.
In fact, the preventive role of parents and reference adults can be a key factor if done in the most appropriate way. Although participating in online challenges is not a custom that entails dangers per se, in the event that the challenges are extreme and lead to dangerous acts to demonstrate “presumed” courage, they actually put physical or psychological health at risk, or safety of the smaller protagonists.
In the video, which recalls in a rapid sequence the emotions and risks typical of extreme challenges, Save the Children proposes some practical suggestions for parents and reference adults on how to behave with their children:
- Establish precise rules with them on social life, times of use and sharing
- Support the management of their social profiles, especially at the beginning, trying not to become intrusive
- Talk, be interested and check the contents with which children come in contact
- Confront adolescents and help them develop a sense of responsibility and autonomy. Let them know that they can always rely on their parents, even if they get into trouble.
“The network today is my world, it is where I grew up and developed my talents, where I found many stimuli and opportunities. There I had the opportunity to meet many boys and girls who, like me, were full of curiosity and passions, and who needed to know the world and understand who they were comparing themselves with others to discover their talents, measure themselves against their fears and feel accepted, feel that they are part of something special, a fundamental ingredient to build the path of their future . I feel a strong responsibility in protecting and developing this positive dimension, especially for younger or very young navigators who may be exposed to the most serious risks. ” Pika Palindromo said.
With the Covid-19 crisis we have witnessed an increase in vulnerabilities and the exposure of minors to possible online risks because the use of virtual environments has expanded to respond to many needs that were previously satisfied also or mainly in the physical dimension, and it is a trend that has increased in particular also for a relatively less exposed age group such as that of children under 10.
“We must not forget that children and adolescents have challenged themselves and others from well before the spread of digital technologies for a natural growth process, especially during adolescence, in order to demonstrate to themselves and others that they are courageous in dangerous situations. and to know how to measure oneself with one’s own limits, and thus gain attention and esteem from one’s peers. It should be highlighted, however, that with the spread of social media the nature of these challenges is characterized by new dynamics of acceleration and amplification, such as a potentially huge and the possibility of immediately obtaining “likes” and comments, or even the possibility of creating content and videos that can become viral with very high risks of emulation. Peer pressure, which is the engine of the online challenge mechanism, can lead to imitate and impress your friends by blurring the perception of the real risks and possible consequences. ” said Antonella Winter, Head of Childhood Policies by Save the Children Italia.
“Speaking, taking an interest and preventing are the key words for all parents and adults of reference, with some important differences. In fact, if in the case of younger children, the practice of verifying the contents to which our son or daughter has access can be an advisable behavior, always making it the object of dialogue and as a pretext for educational ideas, this could also be useless and counterproductive with adolescents. Useless for the multiplication of spaces, channels and virtual places that can be accessed with particular computer skills, and counterproductive because it distances and damages the privacy to which girls and boys are entitled. In this case it is always important to try to adopt an educational dynamic based on empowerment, progressive autonomy and trust. “