[WATCH] Parents still lack awareness on children’s internet use – Pauline Miceli

The Commissioner for Children said on XTRA Sajf that parents were the ones who ultimately had the biggest influence over their children  

Host Saviour Balzan (left) with Commissioner for Children (right)
Host Saviour Balzan (left) with Commissioner for Children (right)

In trying to create a safer environment for children, both online and within society, it is often more important to educate parents than children directly because they are the ones who ultimately have the biggest influence on children, according the Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli.

Speaking on current affairs programme XTRA Sajf, Miceli said that her office was collaborating with the MCA on the Be Smart Online strategy, and highlighted the need for parents’ input in making their children aware of certain risks.

“One of the messages we try and pass on to parents is that they must take care not to allow their children to become addicts,” she said, referring to children’s increasing use of social media and other new technologies.

“They need to be aware of what sites their children are visiting, and to teach them what photos shouldn’t uploaded or sent online,” she stressed, pointing out that in some cases, it was even important to create more awareness on how parents dressed children, and what content of their children parents put online themselves.

She stressed that social media, and the internet, were here to stay, and that what was important was for people to understand that they need to use “gadgets in a responsible way”.

During the programme, the issue of children in politics was also mentioned, with Miceli saying that in the run-up to the election, the problem had been anticipated, with work having started on a set of national guidelines, with the involvement of both political parties.

“Children have a right to an opinion and participation,” she said. “If they are willing to be seen and they are under 16 they can decide for themselves if they want to participate.”

Furthermore, Miceli said there was considerable disagreement during the consultation process, including on how consent could be obtained. She added that one of the problems was that more often than not it was parents that pushed their children to participate in such activities. “This is what worries me,” she added.


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