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Building Children's Online Resilience

In 2014, Parent Zone was asked to work with  Dr Andrew Przybylski and the Oxford Internet Institute by Virgin Media to examine the important area of building children's online resilience.

The result of that collaboration was A Shared Responsibility: Building Children's Online Resilience. The research explored how children and young people can be encouraged to become resilient users of the internet, giving them the tools to be able to act positively when meeting the sometimes stressful challenges of the online world.

The study found that good, supportive parenting paid a key role in helping children learn how to cope in the digital age. The development of digital skills and the ability to allow children to take risks and develop strategies in the online world, just as they would in the offline world, were seen as key in building resilience in the young.

‘Children who felt their parents showed them unconditional love and support, were involved in their lives and respected their choices and opinions are most likely to be resilient online, and thus more likely to benefit from positive outcomes online,’ the report concludes.
‘While parenting strategies of restriction and monitoring may be useful in directly shielding young people from potential harms, they were seen to have the unintended negative consequence of undermining children’s resilience and constructive engagement online.
‘Our findings also suggested that building young people’s digital skills could have unexpected yet positive effects on fostering their resilience and constructive engagement online. Equally, we saw that young people who believed that the internet and digital technology benefit society were more likely to be resilient self-regulators online. This necessitates that we, as a society, shift away from a singular focus on potential online risks and harm to one where we also recognise.’

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