Digital Media & Press Media - Text

Tomorrow is Safer Internet Day: Play your part for a better internet! #SID2016

Tuesday 9th February 2016 is Safer Internet Day, a global event first held in 2004, seeking to promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people, with a theme this year of ‘Play your part for a better internet!’

raising-childrenI wrote Raising Children in a Digital Age in 2014 to encourage people to look beyond the many negative representations of young people and social media, and consider the opportunities to create a better, more positive, Internet experience for everyone, but particularly young people. Education in this area, for children, parents, and others involved in ‘raising children’, including teachers and youth workers, is far more important than shutting conversations down.

For many with responsibility for children, there is a certain amount of fear attached to the idea that children ‘know’ how to use the internet, that they ‘speak a different language’ and therefore we can’t interfere. Terms that have been coined, such as ‘digital natives’ or ‘net generation’, all perpetuate this idea that every child knows what they are doing online by reason of their age. A more useful idea has developed from a team at Oxford University: that of the “digital resident” and the “digital visitor”, defined more by attitude than by age. “Visitors” use the internet as a tool: go in to complete a task, and leave. “Residents” regard themselves as members of communities that exist online, rather than having access to an online toolbox. I am most definitely a digital resident, though I’m far too old to be a ‘digital native’, but the digital, as Martha Lane Fox quoted in the Dimbleby Lecture in 2015, is not optional: “It’s not OK not to understand the Internet anymore”.

The Internet in general offers access to a wide range of viewpoints, with opportunities to learn to distinguish between good and bad content, to make choices about what to engage in, developing “digital literacy” – a core skill in the Twenty-First Century. Peer pressure and bullying in particular can be challenged when families or groups use stories raised through digital media, allowing young people to identify and live out their core values, online and offline.

This morning, a brief mention appeared in February’s Youthwork magazine



[REPORT] Friendship in a Digital Age

“Young people are using a diverse range of digital platforms to communicate with their friends, and most young people are having a positive time online.”

Encouraging from Internet Safety Day back in February, in this short report Friendship in a Digital Age:



[RESEARCH REPORT] Connected Kids by @Childwise

9555463I used some the Childwise data quite extensively in my research for Raising Children in a Digital Age, so keen to read this report once I get a chance:

Our latest Special Report – Connected Kids, highlights the progressions of the last 20 years, using past data to make predictions of how children will interact with technology in the future.

See this news story from March when it was first released, which includes:

…. the report found that traditional social networks like Facebook will continue to decline in popularity, while photo and video-sharing sites like YouTube, Instagram and SnapChat gain traction with young people.

Other findings include that

  • Traditional TV watching has been exchanged for on-demand online watching.
  • The increasing growth of portable devices, and that they are becoming ‘hubs’ for interacting with all other devices.
  • A sense that the ‘internet of things‘ is upon us!

Thanks again Mary Hawes!


[RESEARCH] Who is Generation Next?

who-is-generation-nextThe National Children’s Bureau has just published the following report: Who is Generation Next? An excerpt from the Foreword:

These 11 to 16 year-olds, growing up in the context of significant economic challenges and with the proliferation of new technology, share some of the concerns of their parents’ generation. Across the generations, crime, activities for young people and street cleanliness are identified as local priorities. However, they have their own challenges too. They are anxious about getting good grades and a job when they leave school, about their appearance and about their parents working too hard. Many believe it will be harder for them to buy a house or get a job than it was for their parents. In fact, only a minority of Generation Next think life will be better for them than it was for their parents.

At the same time we see real hope for a future society led by these children. The majority believe that gender and ethnicity does not pose a barrier to getting a good job, and hopefully they will hold to that belief as future employers and employees. Nevertheless, many still think getting a well-paid job will be easier for those with a rich family or who went to private school.

Many children and young people believe 16 and 17 year-olds should have the opportunity to vote. However, the research shows that the majority are undecided about their political allegiances. It may be that we are moving away from a political culture dominated by party loyalty and identity politics, and towards a more independent culture in which individual issues matter more than party allegiance. These children and young people have much to tell those who lead this country. Like adults, they want to see health services and education at the top of the national agenda.


Thanks to Rev Mary Hawes for spotting this one.


Response to NSPCC Porn Research

nspcc-logo-1024x485You know that the other week I responded to the NSPCC report on children and pornography (here and here), here’s an interesting response on the quality of the research:

The NSPCC has been accused of “deliberately whipping up a moral panic” with a study suggesting a tenth of all 12- to 13-year-olds fear they are “addicted” to pornography.

In an open letter to the child protection organisation’s chief executive Peter Wanless, a group of doctors, academics, journalists and campaigners criticised the NSPCC for “suggesting that pornography is causing harm to new generations of young people”.

Read full article.