I spoke briefly to Tola on Premier Radio about the new survey that has been done which indicates that children are getting fed up with social media and preferring ‘non-smart’ phones – sources of information were The Guardian and The Daily Mail. Some notes on this:
- What questions were asked in this survey, and what kind of question response opportunities does this give? The findings seem to echo a lot of media narratives – that the internet makes you anti-social, that it increases peer pressure in new ways (possibly, but it’s about how we teach people to work round that!)
- Is there something particular about Independent schools and the kind of families who send their children there that might make this less applicable more widely, or is it truly representative?
- Social media can be seen to add more pressure to fit in/show what an amazing life you have/compare yourself to others in terms of friend numbers, likes, activities, possessions – it therefore requires more of us to stand up to this. It doesn’t have to be this way. How far is this similar to e.g. magazine articles that we used to consume as teenagers, cliques, etc.?The 24-hour nature is certainly different. Teenagers are at a “vulnerable” age with exam pressures and hormones kicking in with puberty.
- In April I talked about Snapchat Streaks and the pressure that comes with those – and how children are getting others to ‘babysit’ their accounts – the converse being that I use streaks in my Pokemon to get me out walking everyday, and to learn on my language app. Companies do have a responsibility to look at this, and listen to people’s concerns on this.
- Digital literacy and talking about what you encounter online – the helpful and the not-so-helpful – are important to make part of everyday (open) conversations between parents/children, youth leaders/youth groups, priests in their congregations, etc. Being genuinely interested in what they’re using / playing, otherwise they won’t want to talk to you about them
- Within all this we need to careful of ‘generational lumping’ as not all children the same age react the same way. There is as much variation as there has ever been, although the environment now includes a more present-presence with social media.
- Most kids don’t know what ‘addiction’ is, and it’s seen as cool/a throw away ‘yeah, I’m addicted’ (adults too). It’s a real medical condition, and most have unhealthy behaviours – although we have to question if they are unhealthy just because it’s not what we did when we were growing up. I liked the idea of the whole school taking 3 days away to consider those habits – likely to have come back with much more thought as to how devices are used.
PSHE type lessons + thinking about HOW we use it – taking time out is healthy as much as shouldn’t spend all your time with one person, in one shop, etc. although I find being exposed to range of insights helpful – e.g. having to manage time in cancer groups, etc at moment! We can all live without socmed but in some ways that’s a weird argument as it’s become embedded in our lives – it takes us back to original internet research which always saw it as anti-social/not-real/geeky.
Fake selves – we can all do that – partly our responsibility to think about what we share – including vulnerability (think KWR book), and Brene Brown has insights into thinking that people need to earn the right for us to be vulnerable with them – so we need to be using private aspects of social media as much as public!
- Not quite sure how less advertising is going to work without us paying for services, which am increasingly noticing with smaller sites – such as sound apps.
- Remember for some social/digital media is a lifeline, and when we cut that off, we are saying those people don’t matter.
We also looked at: Violence: It’s claimed four in five British people think children are being exposed to more violence than ever before. A survey by marketing research company OnePoll has found that’s based on their access to social media and computer games. It also shows more than a quarter disagree with the UK’s age of criminal responsibility, which stands at 10. Some notes on this:
- Violence in computer games is only an issue in as much as it acclimatises you to it – makes it seem socially acceptable. Questions of normalisation are key. Companies do need to think about the kind of content that they put online, e.g. non-violent resolutions, in what light violence is shown, etc.
- Previous media studies research into violence ON TV, video games, etc. has demonstrated that typically violence is either shown not to pay, and therefore doesn’t cause it, or it may reinforce a pre-existing temperament, rather than create it. This kind of book is a helpful introduction.
- With games, YouTube clips etc. that kids access, one can put in place some parental control, but it’s not just the content one needs to be familiar with. We must also be aware of the comments users post & communication your child can have with others through a seemingly harmless game. It’s in the comments sectional that a young child may see offensive / violent comments or language. This is what makes digital viewing harder to control than what children see on TV / DVDs.
You can find the full show here.
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.