Child net claims that the knowledge gap between parents and children when it comes to digital technology is one of the biggest challenges to ensuring children’s online safety. According to Ofcom one in five parents of children between five and fifteen use parental controls provided by their internet service providers. Later this year such filters will be introduced to all British households. Experts taking part in a roundtable discussion hosted by The Guardian and Virgin Media agreed however that filters should only be part of the solution to keeping children safe online. It was argued that parents need to understand more about the risks their children face online in order to help them manage these situations. A report following a public consultation by Parliament’s Culture Media and Sport Committee was published this week outlining how public and private organisations can protect children from online harm. Commenting on children’s online safety and particularly the issue of child pornography, Tory MP John Whittingdale called on internet companies to do more to protect children from viewing images of child abuse and porn online.
Image courtesy of Ed Ivanushkin. CC License.
Research on Links Between Children’s Mental Health and The Internet
Mental health campaigners in the UK have warned that parents as well as public institutions such as the NHS are ill-equipped to deal with children’s mental health problems and the new role the internet plays in this. Issues such as cyber bullying, self-harm sites and depression blogs have been highlighted as a cause for concern. A report on the potential links between children’s mental health and the internet has been commissioned by the Department of Health.
One-to-One Educational Tablets Implementation on a Global Scale
Research for Tablets for Schools has shown the way in which schools are introducing one-to-one Tablets to support children’s learning on a global scale. Canadian start-up company 21 Toys claims that the intersection between technology and toys offer new opportunities for children to learn in a fun, engaging and creative way. The founders of 21 Toys argue that their toys can encourage children to work collaboratively to solve problems. A project with autistic children using robotic toys has been found to have a positive impact on the development of communication skills through play.
Distraction Related to Social Media Usage
Excessive use of media and the impact this may have on children’s ability to focus is a subject that is much discussed. In a BBC School Report students from Tarporley High School explain how communicating with friends and checking their social media profiles sometimes keeps them up late at night and describe how this makes it difficult to concentrate at school. The students ran a survey in their school and found that a third of their peers had been kept up at night by what they described as ‘the fear of being left out’. FK&Y’s research for Tablets for Schools in January with over 3,500 11-17 year olds found that nearly two-thirds (64%) take an internet enabled device to bed with them, predominantly to talk to friends, watch videos and play games but also to do homework. The National Teachers Union has said teachers are increasingly concerned about this issue.