The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in society with businesses and schools closing to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, children are forced to continue their education online via platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
According to the latest data gathered by cybersecurity company Kaspersky, between the month of March to May 2020, as many as 47 – 51% of children in Malaysia spent most of their time online searching for learning materials related to their online classes. Interestingly, only 16 – 17% of children spent their time engaged in computer games during the same period.
The company said the declining interest in games in recent months, especially when compared to the period before the pandemic, can be explained by the increased need to focus on other activities such as digital learning and online messaging while learning from home.
Kaspersky said the data was gathered from Kaspersky Safe Kids, a parental control app for PC, Mac and mobile devices, that scans the contents of a webpage accessed by children are age-appropriate. That being said, the data presented by the software is limited only to devices the software is installed on. So, if a child plays games on a device without the app installed such as a home console, like a PlayStation or Nintendo Switch, their playtime is not tracked.
As people were forced to stay at home, their online behaviours changed with engaged in remote working and learning. However, The Star reported that Cybersecurity Malaysia saw a spike of 82.5% in cases that involved fraud, intrusion, cyber-harassment and cyberstalking during the MCO period.
“Our previous report revealed that parents fear for their children’s online safety but are not putting time to talk about them. As most moms and dads are still working from home, we advise them to discuss with their kids how to navigate around the web safely. Parents should also improve their own awareness in terms of cybersecurity threats,” said Kasperksy’s general manager for Southeast Asia, Yeo Siang Tiong.
How can you ensure your child has a positive digital learning experience during the pandemic? Kaspersky has the following recommendations:
- Spend more time communicating with your children about online safety measures.
- Surf and learn together. See where your kids spend their time online and explore how to best keep them safe. Spend time online playing games, so you can learn from each other.
- Teach children how to block and report when they see or experience something negative online.
- Discuss with your children to be careful about the information that they put online
- Last but not least, they do recommend parents to install a cybersecurity software like Kaspersky Total Security to protect against online threats.