1. What are examples of fake news?
- Satire, funny stories based off some truth, that are then spread as the truth
- News alleging negative things about someone’s character
- Advertisements trying to gain profit by lying about their costs
2. Why is it dangerous to spread fake news?
- Public panic may be caused
- Resources are wasted as the authorities check the validity of claims
- Reputations are hurt when false allegations are made
3. How can I teach my child to spot fake news?
Sit together with your child at their digital device, like the computer, and teach them these tips about spotting fake news. Where possible, go to different news sites and search random news stories.
- Check the source: try find news from credible sources that have a good reputation, not just through your friends or social media
- Look at the About Us or Contact Us pages: fake websites often don’t have these pages, or have very little helpful information on them
- Decide on reliable news sources: discuss with your child which sources they think are reliable, and come up with a list of 3 sources
- Confirm with these reliable sources: encourage them to check news stories against your agreed list of 3 reliable sources
- Go to the experts: together, explore websites such as Snopes and FactCheck, who have teams who verify whether popular news stories are true or fake, and Factually and AskST, who check the truth of Singapore-based stories
- Do not share: encourage your child not to post, share, or forward stories that they receive without checking it
1. What are examples of inappropriate content?
- Content promoting hate based on race, religion, disability, sexual preference, etc.
- Content promoting violent extremism
- Sexually explicit content
- Real or simulated violence
- Content advocating unsafe behaviour, such as self-harm or eating disorders
2. My child has seen inappropriate content. What can I do?
- Have an open conversation about what they saw and how they felt about it
- Support your child and talk them through their emotions if they are upset or distressed
- Block the site or report the content on the platform that it appeared
- If you think someone is targeting your child with inappropriate content, contact the authorities – there are laws in place in Singapore to protect young children from being sexually exploited
3. My child is sharing inappropriate content. What can I do?
- Teach them about the harms and dangers of sharing inappropriate content, and ask them questions like, “How would you feel if someone sent you something that upset you?”
- Tighten your control on their technology through stricter parental controls – you can even download apps that let you view all the messages your child sends on their phone
1. What are examples of personal information?
- Full name
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- NRIC number
- Email address
2. When might my child share personal information?
There are several activities online which require some disclosure of personal information, including:
- Registering: signing up for sites often requires a name and email address, but your child may be asked for their gender, date of birth, and more, but a red asterisk (*) often marks out the fields they must enter to register
- Shopping: sites may ask for further details to verify their identity, process payments, and make deliveries
3. What happens if someone has my child's personal information?
There are many consequences of sharing personal information, including:
- Spam emails
- Identity theft
- Damage to reputation
4. How can I help my child protect their personal information?
- Teach them to only use secure websites when sharing personal information: look at the URL bar and check that it begins with https:// and has a ‘locked’ padlock symbol on the left, which indicates that data is encrypted
- Tell them never to share their password with anyone
- Remind them to use a different password for each online account, and to change them regularly
- Teach them how to a strong password, which are more than 8 characters long, and include numbers, symbols, and both lowercase and uppercase letters. Here is how you can create a strong password together:
- Think of a sentence with at least 8 words (Jack and Jill went up the hill)
- Take the first letter of each word (jajwuth)
- Change some letters to uppercase (JajwUth)
- Change some letters to symbols (J&jwUth)
- Add some numbers (J&jwUth2)
1. How much screen time is too much?
As adults, we do not need someone to tell us how much time we should spend online or on our devices. But your child might need some guidelines. It is important stay aware of how much time your child is spending online, and the impact this has on both their school life – making sure that their grades are not suffering – and their social life – making sure that their relationships with friends and family are not impacted. If either of these areas are affected, then they probably need to cut back on how much time they spend online.
2. What are the effects of too much screen time?
- Eye strain
- Being unable to sleep restfully every night
- Constantly talking about something from their online life, such as a game or website
- Thinking that their online activities and friends are more important than anything else
- Disconnecting from the ‘real world’ and losing touch with their friends and family
- Work suffering, e.g., being late to school, scoring lower marks, missing deadlines
This does not mean there are no benefits to having screen time. There are websites, games, and apps that can help your child gain literary skills, test their problem-solving skills, and more. However, they need to find a good balance between their online and offline lives and practice self-control.
3. What can I do to reduce my child’s screen time use?
If your child games too often, remember the 3-2-1 rule: play games less than 3 times a week, limit their total screen time to less than 2 hours a day, and let them play games for less than 1 hour a day
- If you have a young child, do not let them use phones or watch TV to entertain them
- Be aware of how much time your child spends looking at screens every day – apps like Moment can help them track their online usage, and not only might numbers shock them into cutting down their time online, but the app lets them set daily limits on their mobile usage
- Set rules for how much time your child can spend looking at screens every day, e.g., using their phone for only one hour a day or only on certain days of the week
- Encourage your child to shut off their devices with an early warning, e.g., a 5-minute reminder with eye contact acknowledgement, or an alarm clock
- Do not forcefully remove or turn off devices when the time is up – instead, let your child exercise self-control and put away their devices voluntarily
- Have your entire family take part in activities that do not rely on digital devices, such as going to the park or playing a board game together
- Have specific times of day where your entire family puts down your devices, such as during meal times or for an hour before you go to sleep