Concerned about your kid’s phone usage? No, says Kaspersky!

Concerned about your kid’s phone usage? No, says Kaspersky!

Parents often worry that their children spend too much time on their smartphones and waste time! But is it a waste of time? Andrey Sidorenko, head of online child safety at Kaspersky, explains that confronting them or simply taking their devices away from them is not the best approach. It challenges parents to speak their children’s language, find a common interest and understand what exactly they are doing on their phones.


The rapid inclusion of children in the digital world is now the status quo and the inevitable new reality. According to a Kaspersky survey, more than half, around 55%, of children in the United Arab Emirates buy or get access to their first internet-enabled device by the age of seven. And that number is catapulted to 99% by 13-year-olds. Of course, parents’ first reaction to this phenomenon is to try to control their use by restricting access to the Internet or a general restriction of
smart devices. However, implementing such measures will deprive children of valuable and useful skills, be they technical or social, which will come in handy as they grow older.

What do children do on the Internet?
Of course, parents’ biggest concern is the amount of screen time they spend: 8% of families in the UAE are unsure about their children’s digital lives and 73% say their child is spending too much time spends or doing nothing useful on the phone.

According to the Responsible Digital Parenting survey, 73% of children in the UAE watch vlogs, including games and toys (68%), music (40%), computer games (38%), and movies (38%).

Children are interested in basically the same things as many adults: music, movies, TV series, memes, and lifestyle bloggers. This means that we can and should look for common ground in these areas: asking, discussing, recommending, and also teaching your children how to consciously choose content.

According to the survey, parents just don’t know what interests their children, and most of them share the same fear of the unknown. In fact, by studying the content that children are interested in and subscribed to, you are unlikely to find anything out of the ordinary. Children mainly visit websites to download programs, movies, music, or messaging applications.

As a first step, it is important to know better what interests children about these devices to guide their habits. At first glance, most of the content they enjoy may seem silly and unimportant to parents. However, according to UNICEF, all children’s online activities, no matter how useless they may seem, help them acquire and even master important digital skills. For example, playing video games and watching video clips can motivate
young children to engage in educational, informative, and social digital experiences.

The ability to analyze and make decisions quickly, as well as teamwork, can be developed by encouraging children to expand their online activities beyond entertainment. In general, children should experiment at a young age, try new things and expand their interests from time to time. The Benefits of YouTube and TikTok as an Example
Host a family screening of a YouTube show, an interview, a popular science video, or even a game stream, and at the end share your thoughts and feelings about what you saw. Nowadays, you can find a lot of unique and fascinating content on the Internet, such as videos of a rover landing on Mars or a lion’s nightlife on the savannah. There are many informative YouTube channels, for example:

National Geographic Kids
Crash Course Kids
Kids Learning Tube
YouTube also recently launched its Arabic kid’s app for MENA users. Parents can take advantage of the app’s rich content and breadth of parental controls, allowing each family to tailor their experience to their preferences and interests. By finding a common interest and a channel to subscribe to, families can make it a tradition to get together weekly and watch their favorite channel together. Family members can take turns choosing what to watch every
weeks. The goal here might not be the actual visualization, but the fact that everyone has common preferences and topics of conversation, which is great, isn’t it?


Though TikTok is primarily viewed as a dance app, the platform launched new digital series under the #LearnOnTikTok umbrella to support the rise of online educational content, which saw 300% growth in 2020. The network’s algorithms gradually adapt to preferences, and before you know it, users—adults and children alike—may be learning the solution to a mathematical theorem, discovering an interesting historical fact, or a practical application of the laws of physics.
Accounts of professors, scientists and people covering a variety of subjects such as psychology, chemistry, art, language learning, physics, and history have already gained popularity on the social network. Parents can participate in tuning search algorithms on TikTok so their kids add more educational videos to the feed using appropriate hashtags. There is a lot of useful information under the hashtags #Education and #EducationalVideos. Subject-specific tags also work, for example #SchoolLife, #History, #Geography, #BacktoschoolCheck, #Chemistry, #Science or #Experiments. To find language learning videos, try combinations like #EnglishVideo #MathQuiz,
#LearnOnTikTokMath, etc.

In addition to videos on popular social networks, parents and children can listen to audiobooks and podcasts or play video games together. If you know exactly what interests your child, also try to find suitable online courses, such as B. drawing, video editing, or creating cartoons.

News and Information
In the modern world, children are involved in the information space, perhaps at the same level as adults. They are interested in what is going on around them and try to understand things. The Internet is a reliable helper for them. For example, when the COVID19 pandemic began in the United Arab Emirates, there was a sudden surge in interest in news resources among school children. When it comes to finding new information online, parents’ primary role is to distinguish fake from real and to help children develop critical thinking (both their own and their children’s). Try to find and compare different opinions on the same topic, and explain how to confirm this or that information from different sources.

Finding common ground in the digital world with children is hard work that takes a lot of time and effort. But if this makes it possible to find common interests, have fun and spend time together, then the funds invested will be fully repaid. After all, calm and trusting family relationships are priceless.