Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report 2013
I wanted to get a quick blog post out, in relation to the recent report, by Ofcom Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report (2013) and share some of the findings which stood out in this latest research .
For a start, some good news. I hear us parents say, can there be such a thing with all this fast moving technology and everything going on online? Updated research shows that ‘the number of children who own a mobile phone is going down, as youngsters reject basic handsets and increasingly turn to tablet computers to access the Internet’. Well, now that children are moving towards tablets, as opposed to mobiles, imagery and text on a tablet is much more visual than on a mobile so it’s a lot easier for parents to spot something untoward in what our children are viewing. Unlike smart phones, tablets can’t be hidden in pockets. They can however be hidden under beds and in coats. But they’re still more visible.
Another very interesting finding was that compared to last year 12-15s are much less likely to say they have a social media profile on any device (68%, down from 81%). Now I’m no statistics genius but as it’s highly unlikely that children are deleting their social networking profiles, this may be that many children now feel they are not able to freely admit that they have a social networking profile due to negative media attention on the use. This concerns me and says we need to find innovative and positive ways to safeguard children online, to replace the ‘safety talks’ currently employed.
The report also found that 18% of 12-15s say they know how to change online filters or controls. One in 4 parents (24%) of 5-15 year olds users are concerned about cyber bullying while one in 7 (14%) said they were concerned about their child cyber bullying somebody else.
Now anyone who has seen me speak on these topics or read any of my recent blogs will know my take on this. As a parent myself, I think we need to do and can do more to educate our young people on responsible and positive use of the internet, technology and social media – but it’s not all about the kids. As parents we need to become more aware of the changing landscape of technology and how we can help our children navigate through it more safely and use it to their advantage.
Many parents feel overwhelmed; they feel they can’t catch up with children’s technology skills. But there is a way forward. Our children can help us learn. Getting involved in their online life, using the tools -parental and safety software and setting boundaries is a good start. Let’s get started we can all make improvements in Cybersafety