Written by Venkatesh Ramamrat
“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” — Oprah Winfrey, TV host, actress, and philanthropist
At Wranga, we are helping to create a digital parenting ecosystem, to enable parents to make informed decisions using technology to raise socially responsible, culturally sensitive, and media literate children in a safe cyber environment. The important values which guide us in this journey are Trust, Security and privacy of children which enable empathetic real life learning for kids in digital spaces, allowing them to reflect on their digital behaviour and hence be responsible for their actions online.
Digital Demographics in India:
A digital parenting ecosystem must cater to the needs of all the parents in a demographic, who might have common as well as unique solutions for their concerns. Some highlight statistics from India can be as follows:
- second highest per capita consumption of video content
- 340 million highest growth rate of smartphone users
- Cheapest mobile data in the world
Looking at some statistics of education, we see that both are staggering in number by the sheer population size who, though, have access to technology,yet there remains a big gap in digital literacy as in basic education.
Parents in India of School Going Children
(1) English speaking (2) Non English Speaking (3) mobile phone users(4) Urban (5) from a developed rural area/non-metro urban setting (6) who are increasingly willing to pay for content online.
In India, as per the KPMG report
, we can identify as Digital Sophisticates,Digital Enthusiasts, Digital Mainstream and Digital Fringe users. The profiling has been discussed in detail below:
- Socio economic profile: wealthy, Tech Savvy, Urban
- Content preferences: Global content and tent-pole, original Indian programming tailored for the urban audience, typically behind a paywall
- Income Profile: >USD 70,000 per annum
- Language of digital consumption: Primarily English and Hindi
- Primary mode of digital consumption:Smart connected TVs and mobile
- 2018: 18 million, 3% 2030: 75 million, 7%
- Content preferences: Primary mode of digital consumption Well known global franchises may find a niche audience but predominantly, it will be Indian narratives that will be popular
- Income profile USD40,000 – USD70,000
- Language of digital consumption: Hindi/regional language as well as English
- Primary mode of digital consumption:Mainly smartphone led with partial TV streaming among the higher income groups
- 2018: 190 million, 36 % 2030:530 million, 50%
- Income profile: USD 4000 -USD 8500
- Language of digital consumption: Hindi/regional Languages
- Primary mode of digital consumption: Smartphone
- Content preferences: Free content available online or bundled plans with OTT players through telcos and other distribution platforms
- 2018: 310 million, 59% 2030: 410 million, 39%
Digital Fringe User
- Sporadic digital access on account of either poor connectivity in remote areas or irregular income.
- Much harder to graduate into “Digital Mainstream” as they don’t have the required socio-economic mobility.
- Lack of awareness compounded by a lack of motivation as opportunities to leverage the internet are also limited.
- Digital consumption is likely to be restricted to mobile messaging and free bundled content.
- 2018: 10 million, 2% 2030: 35 million, 3%
Challenges in Digital Parenting
Looking at the digital demographics and the education statistics, we at @wranga, realise and understand the problems and challenges faced by parents is much more complex than before,as the kind of digital content which has entered the lifestyle is unprecedented, as well as, for the first time digital migrants are being parents to digital natives, which is a unique condition of our time, Some challenges we can think of are articulated below:
Image Credit: themodernparent.net
- Choosing content consumption
- Technology adoption decisions
- Understanding the effects of Technology on children
- Explaining Technology to Children
- Adapting to the ever changing social environment because of rapid increase/advancement in technology
Digital Age risks involved:
When technology, which is so vast, comes in contact with children the risk is very high, as trauma induced, due to interactions in digital media can have severe long term impact on children throughout their lives in both the digital environment and the real world as well. Some examples of the risks involved with children are discussed below:
Image Credit: themodernparent.net
- Negative Behaviour change when using the internet, including social media platforms, games and apps.
- Browsing, download or upload material that could be considered offensive or illegal.
- Sending material that could be considered threatening, bullying, offensive or illegal.
- Giving out any personal information online, such as name, phone number or address.
- Revealing passwords
- Face-to-face meetings of children with adults, post conversations online without parents knowing
Parenting in the digital Age
As parents, it can be difficult and highly intense to manage work, home, children and with the added complexity of new advancing technology who’s impact on children has not been experienced before at this scale and not researched enough.As per Positive parent researching team (PPRT), University of southern Mississippi (nicholson, 2019)
Elements of Positive Parenting would include:
- Sensitive to needs
- Non violent
- Open Communication
- Emotional Security
- Emotional Warmth
- Unconditional Love
- Recognises the Positive
- Respects the child development stage
- Rewards Accomplishments
- Sets boundaries
- Empathy for child’s feelings
- Supports child’s best interests
Clear benefits of Digital Parenting
- Prevent and Prepare parents to handle children’s life in a way so as to avoid the worst case scenarios.
- Bridges communication between parents and children to real relationships in a digital age.Informed choices will lead to a favourable emotional,physical, social, spiritual and cerebral development of the child.
- Technology can be really used for improving the lives of humans as better coordination and communication, sharing knowledge among peer groups and among future digital citizens will lead to enriched society choices.
Wranga Areas of Expertise:
Image Credit: themodernparent.net
- Digital Parenting
- Online Safety
- Data Privacy
- Toolkit against Sextortion
- Online Gaming Safety Guide
- Cyber Helpline
- Digital Citizenship
- Digital Etiquette
- Live chat etiquette
- Internet Usage
For Wranga, the scale of the work we need to do is enormous, considering the wide population who are first time technology adopters and with the scale of Apps, Games, OTTs coming into the market everyday, it becomes a very big problem to understand what is good and what is not good for your child. To make it harder the amount of content added daily is so mind boggling that all these interventions cannot be done by humans. In the next discussion, we will see how Wranga is utilising cutting edge technology to help parents make good parenting decisions in a hyper digital world.