Leading international advocates for digital literacy the Family Online Safety Institute (“FOSI”), the Philippines’ Foundation for Media Alternatives (“FMA”) and global internet entertainment service Netflix came together today to host a virtual workshop titled “Good Digital Parenting in an Open Internet.” The workshop brought together close to 100 representatives from the digital industry, civil society, academic, and the public sector in a vibrant discussion of topics on online safety, digital citizenship, and the many opportunities and challenges that digital technology presents to children and families.
Delivering the keynote, FOSI Founder and CEO Stephen Balkam said, “It is important to take a multi-faceted approach when considering how best to respond to the many online safety issues and challenges that are facing ourselves and our children . We believe in the need to create a Culture of Responsibility online; one that involves different, but overlapping areas of responsibility across society, as well as involving the kids themselves.” Balkam described the unique roles of parents, governments and companies in engaging children, becoming good digital role models, and encouraging the use of parental control features more effectively.
FOSI’s research underscored the importance of online safety and smart digital parenting: 57% of parents are much more likely to think that technology has made communication among their family better than worse, with top benefits for children being the development of technology skills, the ability to research and find information, and for their future, career and life skills.
FMA Executive Director Liza S. Garcia said, “Being a parent is not easy, and in the digital age, there are many challenges that parents have to hurdle, such as keeping up with technology and being familiar with the applications that their children use. As parents we want to keep our children, however old they are, safe and secure at all times. But how do we make the world safe for our children? How do we respond to the challenges and opportunities that digital technology provides to our families and our children?”
Shanta Arul, Strategy & Development, Netflix Asia Pacific said, “We know many families love Netflix which is why we continue to have no ads on our service, and we are always continuing to strengthen our parental controls based on member feedback. We understand choice and control are important for our members, especially parents, and hope these additional controls will help parents make informed choices on what their families watch.”
The online safety webinar also brought experts from different sectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities of technology, and how it affects children and their families. Panelists include Ms. Sheila Estabillo, a Cyber Safespaces Project Manager from Plan International Philippines, Shanta Arul Strategy and Development from Netflix, and Rina Siongco, Director at Globe Telecom. Jane Uymatiao, a Blogger, advocate and digital mom, is the moderator of the workshop.
Sheila Estabillo, Cyber Safespaces Project Manager of Plan International said, “The COVID-19 Pandemic has drastically changed the parenting landscape with the internet playing a more crucial role in everyday life. Digital Parenting is an essential developing skill for parents to learn and the best way to hone this skill is to spend more time actively engaging within the online environment. This exercise will allow parents to familiarize themselves on the importance of Digital Literacy while becoming good Digital Role models to their children. “
Rina Siongco, Globe Telecom said, “At Globe, we are making the internet more accessible, working with the government to provide free access to digital books, and working with schools to enable them with digital tools and learning platforms. At home, I believe that a parents’ involvement is crucial to this new normal that we are in, especially when it comes to children’s education which is being adapted to online platforms. Parents, who may now have to employ a work-and-parenting balance, have to become more vigilant on the content that they view online, and assist teachers in ensuring that education remains effective, especially now that it has shifted to utilizing online methods.”