PARENTS' OPINION ABOUT CYBER ADDICTION OF THEIR CHILDREN IN PRIMARY SCHOOL AGE

M. Dishkova, R. Papancheva

University "Prof. Dr Asen Zlatarov" (BULGARIA)
The problem, named cyber addiction, is rather actual nowadays. It is very discussed, especially in the century of globalization and technologies. Addictive usage of digital devices may be a characteristic not only for adults but for children as well. Many authors make researches in this area. They investigate different aspects of cyber addiction: reason, symptoms, outcome, determinants for its developing, consequences, mental and physical disorders that it may cause. There are conceptual models which include family as a main reason for children’s cyber addiction and a basic structure to build a treatment program on. At the same time, family is a good preventer as well. More and more parents has begun to use Internet as a cast-free babysitter. Small babies do not allow to be feed up if there is no screen in front of their faces. Mum’s smartphone is panacea for every child’s problem: crying, injury, fear, cradling. Many of the modern parents are addictive too. They are always with a digital device in their hand and this the behavioral model that they promote to their children. To be silent is a really good reason for a mother or a father to supply her/his baby with a smartphone, or a tablet.

All this provoked a research which main goal is to analyze parent’s opinion about their children’s cyber addiction. 160 mothers and fathers of children in primary school age are examined through a questionnaire that includes: some personal data (gender, age, profession, age and number of children in family); parents’ attitudes to digital devices; their opinion about child’s behavior on and offline; do they use smartphone for prize and punishment; should new technologies be used in educational programs and so on. Results are very indicative about existence of cyber addicted children, in spite of their comparatively smaller number. Some of the parents seems to deny the problem, but they contradict themselves which shows that they are not aware of the seriousness of the problem. There is another fact that should light scholars’ red light: some of the children cheat their parents and do not obey their requirements. This is an undoubtedly evidence that pathological usage of Internet and digital devices exists. Some parents are absolutely positive that information technologies are very useful if used for educational purposes and under adults’ control.