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Parenting in the Digital Age: Live Streaming for Families in Singapore

Badging is about setting expectations or standards and confirming when those expectations or standards have been met with positive reinforcement. If a child makes their bed without being asked, is polite, or does something constructive, this can be badged with praise, a pat on the back, or indirect positive reinforcement. Praise is a powerful parenting tool and is a key part of enforcing good behavior management. It is a form of attention, so it shows children that their parents care about them. This, in turn, builds a good parent-child relationship. Children like to be noticed and validated, especially by their parents. Always praising children for good behavior will also serve to encourage good behavior.

Parenting in the digital age is becoming increasingly challenging than ever before, and parents need to understand the importance of digital technology in their children’s lives. Parents can build a relationship with their children through participation in their digital world. Good parenting tools in the digital age can be a form of badging, which was a practice from the scout movement. The positive uses of good parenting techniques are limitless, ranging from fostering good manners, higher school grades, better behavior management, boosting self-esteem, and instilling healthy eating habits to ensuring that your children have a safe online experience when using the internet and mobile phones. The most important lesson in digital parenting might be setting a good example for your children. This can be difficult at times, but being a good role model for your children is a fundamental parenting principle.

The Impact of Digital Technology on Parenting

The study by the British Council (2015) showed that 19% of parents in Singapore worry about their child’s use of social media compared to 8% in the UK and 7% in Australia. The practice of screens for activities such as learning from educational software, using the internet for research, and creating content has many positive aspects. However, in the same study, parents reported worrying about the influence on their children’s media culture and the implications of the ‘always on’ digital environment (talking to friends, playing games, watching videos, and earning money online, among other activities) that surrounds their child’s use of screens. Subsequent studies have also provided insight into the particular concerns of parenting in Singapore. In 2016, Dr. Lim Sun Sun and her team from the Department of Communications and New Media, NUS, carried out a study of 1290 parents with children aged 6 to 14 in Singapore. This study focused on digital technology and its impact on families from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. It was found that higher-income parents worried about overuse of screens and content that had negative influences on their children, while lower-income parents were concerned that their children would miss out on the educational and social opportunities the internet can provide due to a lack of access to technology and insufficient English proficiency. A depth of research from these studies demonstrates the range of issues parents face in today’s society as screens become integrated into various aspects of their child’s life.

Live Streaming for Families in Singapore

Live streaming has been growing in popularity in Singapore. According to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, live video incorporating streaming technology is the fastest growing application in the digital media space and makes up the largest segment in the digital media market. There are myriad benefits that families could derive from live streaming Singapore. Today’s fast-paced society has resulted in parents spending more time at work and less time with their children. According to a survey by MCYS, children in Singapore feel that parents are the most stressed-out group. Live streaming Singapore would enable working parents to keep in touch with their children and supervise them at any time and any place as long as there is an internet connection, using their mobile phone. This could reduce the worries of parents who are not able to be physically present at home but still want to keep a watchful eye over their children. With live streaming, parents are able to have peace of mind as they could ensure that their children are safe and are doing what they are supposed to do. This is because, unlike pre-recorded videos, live streaming is in real time and parents would know instantly if their children are up to mischief. In addition, live streaming could be a medium for family members from different households to keep in touch. For instance, it could be a platform for grandparents to watch their grandchildren growing up even though they are in different countries. This could, in turn, strengthen family ties.

Benefits of Live Streaming for Families

Live streaming is the latest interactive online technology that enables the simultaneous viewing and broadcasting of audio and video. Live streaming offers families in Singapore an unparalleled opportunity to share new experiences – both common and extraordinary. This technology also provides an innovative platform for families to build stronger relationships through new activities, whether it be simply sharing stories at the end of the day, or conducting ‘show and tell’ centered on an interesting artifact from the past. Live streaming can directly involve family members in an activity, fostering a greater feeling of togetherness even when physical distances may separate the family members. An example could be watching a live broadcast of a family member doing a workout and joining in from a remote location. Live streaming activities can provide a cornerstone for family tradition, such as a weekly quiz night, and enable extended family members to regularly join in on activities together.

Risks and Challenges of Live Streaming for Families

There are, of course, obstacles and challenges with the use of an emerging type of media or a change in the use of traditional media for families. As an electronic platform, live streaming may not only be susceptible to changes in user patterns or loss of popularity, but may also be subject to a change in the online environment through the development and promotion of competitive new media platforms and changes to the regulatory or ‘acceptable behavior’ environment at local or global levels. The wide range of possible devices for viewing streaming means that families today are fragmented in terms of the type of screens they use, and the move away from TV-based viewing to mobile or ‘on the move’ viewing may mean a loss of that shared family experience of consuming media together. Lack of regulations and ease of access to a wide variety of content may also mean that many families are concerned about the safety of their children using live streaming platforms and the exposure to certain types of content that may no longer represent the well-packaged and easily regulated ‘children’s programming’ of the television age.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Live Streaming

It is always better to oversee the live streaming whenever possible. Parents with younger children may want to do this together. Explain that you are there to help keep them safe and to assist with anything that they do not understand. For older children, a good method is to have the computer in a family area. This provides good access to overseeing what your child is doing; and remind them that you are there to talk about anything if they feel unsure about something that has happened during their live streaming.

Parents need to begin teaching children about online safety early. The ideal time to begin is when children start gaming online, using webcams or mobile phones or perhaps when they are around 7-8 years old. All resources should be age appropriate. In Singapore, parents can use the interactive eBook Captain Quest by Media Literacy Council. This resource helps children discover the internet and provides different modules and comics to teach children how to be safe online. The MLC website also has a parent’s guide section.

As a parent, you can protect children from the possible dangers of social networking and internet chat, while teaching essential digital literacy and safety skills. These are crucial for enabling children to take advantage of the many positive opportunities online, now and in the future.

Setting restrictions and privacy settings does not guarantee your child’s safety while live streaming. The most important thing is to educate them about their online safety and their exposure to the public. Parents can use the experience as a practical way to teach them key safety concepts they can use in other online areas. Use easy to understand language.

Setting Privacy Settings and Restrictions

It’s recommended that parents make sure their children are aware of privacy implications for personal information made available online. Unknowingly, a child could be revealing too much personal detailed information about themselves or their family to people who may have malicious intent. This could cause child safety concerns as well as the possibility of phishing scams. It’s common knowledge that one should never give out passwords to third parties, but let your children know that this includes friends as well. A frequent tactic used to harass someone is logging into their account and using it to damage their online reputation or used as a means to gather more personal information about the victim or their contacts. For platforms that support it, it’s beneficial to learn how to set moderating permissions for chats as well as which information will be displayed in user profiles. With the rate at which privacy settings and account UI can change, this could be something to do together with your child’s assistance for learning opportunity to compare and contrast different settings in order to familiarize both parties with the functioning of the platform.

Educating Children about Online Safety

One method would be exposing them to the internet’s stranger danger by demonstrating what happens when one talks to strangers online, conducting a scenario with the children where they are asked questions by someone they don’t know. By showing them how easy it may be to give too much information out and how this can lead to identity theft or abduction, the child will be more aware and better prepared for similar encounters in real-life situations. Videos or games such as NetSmartz; Clicky’s Web World, a website teaching internet safety for kids by kids, can provide fun and interactive ways to teach children about online safety.

They should monitor and restrict who their child is interacting with and what they are talking about, ensuring that they are not talking to strangers, giving out personal information, and behaving in a way that reflects the family’s values. This can be done by joining the child in the live stream and monitoring the chat, or parents can dabble in the live streaming world and see first-hand the interactions their child is having with others. Another method which seems to be effective is agreeing on rules between the child and the family, as well as a contract with consequences if they are broken. This is an effective method for ensuring that the child fully understands what is expected of them and in becoming responsible for their own actions.

Monitoring and Moderating Live Streaming Activities

Live streaming activities can be monitored by parents with the help of recent guidelines from MDA. Parents can educate themselves about common online activities and trends that children engage in. Knowing the terminology and understanding the activities will better equip parents to monitor and moderate their children’s online activities. Parents can also find out more about popular live streaming activities amongst children by getting information from relatives and friends of the child. Simulation workshops with other parents, organized by schools or community groups, can be useful platforms for parents to learn how to monitor and moderate their child’s online activities. Parents can share advice and strategies to cope with common situations, and a facilitator can guide the discussion on safety issues.

Building a Supportive Online Community

Parents need to recognize and appreciate good behavior shown by the child, which includes acts of kindness, helpfulness, sharing, empathy, and positive leadership. The specific reinforcement of the behavior, the more chance the child will realize the positive behavior being pointed out is integral to the parent. Peers can also be guided to provide positive reinforcement to the intended child when the information has been explained to them. It also helps for the parent to teach their child various etiquette, including saying “please” and “thank you,” as simple manners are often overlooked by many people. In doing so, parents create a self-fulfilling prophecy because the child is more likely to seek learning, more attention, and approval from the parents and peers when positive behavior is known to attract positive reactions.

In order to mitigate risks related to the exposure of children live streaming, it is important for parents to establish a safe community. Children are likely to observe and imitate adults, thus parents and other family members serve as role models. Research has shown that positive parental involvement not only lessened aggressive behaviors and narrowed attention seeking by children, it also fosters a more supportive environment leading children to have higher self-esteem and become more competent.

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