The joint report by DQ Institute and the World Economic Forum, over 50 per cent of 8-12 year olds are susceptible to cyber-bullying, video game addiction, offline meetings, disinformation and online sexual grooming.
Notably, the problem is more acute in emerging economies, where "internet adoption has been more rapid and less subject to appropriate safeguards by parents, industry or government".
The purpose of the '2018 DQ Impact Report' is to highlight the need for concerted action by government, industry and civil society to help parents counter the threats facing the youngest 'digital citizens' and "such a need is more acute in emerging economies", it said.
"We must act quickly and take positive steps to help these children facing cyber-risks around the world, especially in information and communication technology (ICT)-emerging countries. We need to work together to help our children outsmart cyber-risks and become successful and responsible digital citizens who maximise their potential and minimise cyber-risks," said Yuhyun Park, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the DQ Institute, Singapore.
The study of 38,000 children noted that 47 per cent have been victimised through cyber-bullying in the past year.
"Today's youth make up an important part of our informed society, they will be tomorrow's voters and our future leaders. Ensuring they are better equipped to face the challenges of hyper-connected life, earlier on, should be a societal priority," said Cheryl Martin, MD, Head of Industries and Member of the Managing Board at the WEF.
Moreover, the children spend an average of 32 hours per week in front of digital screens for entertainment alone
longer than the time they spend in school, the study said.
There is a positive association between screen time and exposure to cyber-bullying, video game addiction, offline meetings and online sexual behaviours, it said.
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