“Digital Natives lack online nous” says @Ofcom

A report was released by Ofcom yesterday into Children and Parents attitudes – and this was the accompanying press release (note, I’m not a particular fan of the term ‘digital native‘, especially the way that it’s used):

  • Children increasingly trusting of information they find online
  • One in ten believe everything they find on social media or apps is true
  • Most 12-15s unaware that ‘vloggers’ can be paid to endorse products

Children are becoming more trusting of what they see online, but sometimes lack the understanding to decide whether it is true or impartial.

Ofcom’s Children and Parents: Media and Attitudes report, published today, reveals that children aged 8-15 are spending more than twice as much time online as they did a decade ago, reaching over 15 hours each week in 2015.

But even for children who have grown up with the internet – so-called digital natives – there’s room to improve their digital know-how and understanding.

For example, children do not always question what they find online. One in five online 12-15s (19%) believe information returned by a search engine such as Google or Bing must be true, yet only a third of 12-15s (31%) are able to identify paid-for adverts in these results.

Nearly one in ten (8%) of all children aged 8-15 who go online believe information from social media websites or apps is “all true” – doubling from 4% in 2014.

Children are increasingly turning to YouTube for “true and accurate” information about what’s going on in the world. The video sharing site is the preferred choice for this kind of information among nearly one in ten (8%) online children, up from just 3% in 2014.

But only half of 12-15s (52%) who watch YouTube are aware that advertising is the main source of funding on the site, and less than half (47%) are aware that ‘vloggers’ (video bloggers) can be paid to endorse products or services.

James Thickett, Ofcom’s Director of Research, said: “The internet allows children to learn, discover different points of view and stay connected with friends and family. But these digital natives still need help to develop the know-how they need to navigate the online world.”

Children’s online lives

Children aged 12-15 were split about whether being online helped them be themselves, with around one third (34%) agreeing and a similar amount (35%) disagreeing. The remaining 31% were unsure whether being online helped them be themselves or not.

Most 12-15s (72%) believe that most people behave differently when they’re online, with girls more likely to say this happens than boys (78% versus 67%).

More than two thirds (67%) of girls aged 12-15 with a social media account said there were things they dislike about social media. Nearly one in three (30%) were concerned about people spreading gossip or rumours and a quarter (23%) said people can be “nasty, mean or unkind to others”.

This compared with just over half of boys aged 12-15 (52%) reporting things they dislike about social media.

Many children are also concerned about spending too much time on the internet. Around one in ten online children aged 8-15 (9%) say they dislike spending too much time online, and nearly one in three 12-15s (31%) admit they can sometimes spend too much time on social media in particular.

Parents’ role in online safety

More than nine in ten parents of 8-15s (92%) manage their children’s internet use in some way – either through technical tools, talking to or supervising their child, or setting rules about access to the internet and online behaviour. Nearly four in ten parents (38%) use all four approaches.

Among the technical tools used by parents are network-level content filters offered by broadband providers. Almost six in ten parents of 8-15s (56%) are aware of these parental controls, up from 50% in 2014, and a quarter (26%) use them, up from 21% in 2014.

It appears that the vast majority of children do hear the advice given about staying safe online. Some 97% of children aged 8-15 recall advice they’ve been given, particularly from parents.

The large majority (84%) of children aged 8-15 also say they would tell their parents, another family member or a teacher if they saw something online they found worrying, nasty or offensive. However, 6% of children say they would not tell anyone.

Download the full report (PDF). I’ll be adding this report, along with other articles I’m collecting on Wakelet, for when I’m ready to go onto edition 2 of Raising Children in a Digital Age

Media & Press Media - Text

[PRESS RELEASE] Revamped website shows people can come to faith online


People can come to faith while sitting at their computer screens but not by stumbling upon Bible verses quoted out of context, mission workers were told this week during the re-launch of a unique website that answers people’s questions about the Christian faith.

Every month, thousands of people look for answers to questions about Christianity on – from what do Christians believe about homosexuality to can I have my baby Christened? – demonstrating an appetite to know more. Many of them use the website to get in touch with the Christian Enquiry Agency for personal answers to individual questions.

British adults are more likely to be internet-literate than knowledgeable about the Bible, so churches must engage online as this is the place where seekers are found.

Research from the Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report 2014 showed 83 per cent of adults now go online using any type of device in any location and nearly all (98 per cent) aged between 16 and 34 are online.

But it’s not just the young ones – there has been a nine percentage point increase in those aged 65-plus going online – up to 42 per cent.

At the other end of the computer screen, answering people’s questions and replying to people’s comments is Peter Graystone, co-ordinator of the Christian Enquiry Agency, which runs the website.

He said: “I am staggered at what people tell me about their spiritual thoughts behind the privacy of a computer screen. The longing for faith and meaning hasn’t gone away. People who would never walk into a church on a Sunday morning to find answers will readily look for them in a search engine at midnight on a Friday.

“We always give people what they ask for, and nothing more than that. But if their question is, ‘Does praying ever work?’ it begins a conversation that might continue by email for months. And when we share our experience, Jesus makes himself known. In the goodness of God, people are coming to real faith online in a way I would not have thought possible some years ago.

Speaking at the launch of the revamped website, Gavin Calver – on his first day as director of mission at the Evangelical Alliance – said there is a clear need for Christians to engage with the cultural contexts in which they live in order to draw people towards God. “We need to re-imagine our style,” he said. “The substance doesn’t change, but the method has to. We need to change the method in order that people can hear us. We need to tell Jesus stories in a world that wants to hear them.

“A lot of us lock ourselves away in the Church and speak a language only the Church speaks, so when we encounter people who don’t know Jesus, we find it hard to relate to them. We need a more incarnational form of ministry at times that gets in among people.”

Dr Bex Lewis, research fellow in social media and online learning at CODEC, St John’s College Durham, warned of the potential dangers of Christians bombarding their social media contacts with Bible verses without any context, but encouraged people to form real, in-depth relationships.

“Social media is about relationships,” she said. “How do we encourage people to make those online relationships real? A lot of social media is about getting to know people and finding a starting point for conversation. A huge amount of it is listening. It’s not just about pushing content out.”

In 2014, there were more than 300,000 views of the website, with visitors ranging from school pupils wanting help with their religious education homework, to people who felt depressed and needed a listening ear, to those who are opposed to Christianity.

Peter Graystone added: “Just write on the bottom of posters, emails or anything that is read by people beyond the walls of a church. It’s so easy, and it’s free. We’ll do all the rest.”

To find out more about how churches can support this ministry, visit

About the Christian Enquiry Agency (who provided press release)

The Christian Enquiry Agency is an agency of Churches Together in England and a charitable company limited by guarantee (charity number 1152730, company number 8302274).  CEA works on behalf of all the major UK churches, and in partnership with many Christian organisations. The work of the Christian Enquiry Agency is entirely dependent on donations and grants. The patrons of CEA are Lord Alton of Liverpool and Archbishop John Sentamu.   The day to day work is overseen by the Church Army and the Deo Gloria Trust from offices in Croydon, South London, England.

NOTE: Read more in The Church Times.

Academic Digital

Unlimited access to 33,000 video resources now available to UK educators #PressRelease

jiscAlexander Street Press has forged an agreement with the UK champion of digital technology in education and research, Jisc, to provide access to video resources for colleges and universities in the UK using the publisher’s popular evidence-based acquisition (EBA) model.

The EBA agreement gives colleges and universities in the UK the opportunity to have unlimited access to Alexander Street Press’ complete suite of academic video titles—more than 33,000 titles—for up to one year at a time. At the end of this period, university staff can use Alexander Street Press’ detailed metrics to evaluate their patrons’ most-viewed titles and select those they’d like to incorporate into their permanent collection.

Gareth Bish, UK and Ireland sales manager at Alexander Street Press said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Jisc, not only because of their dedication to providing UK institutions with market-leading academic resources for scholarly research, teaching, and learning, but also because they are highly trusted by the academic library community to negotiate license agreements for digital media via flexible business models such as this.

“We are thrilled to have their support for our EBA programme. In return, as part of our commitment to driving and analysing usage, we will be working with Jisc on enhanced provision of usage statistics for academic libraries.”

This agreement is the result of heightened interest in EBA following agreements made in 2013 with University of Dundee and Leeds Metropolitan University and will further pave the way for libraries worldwide to add the most highly sought-after content to their collections in a precise, cost-effective way.

Lorraine Estelle, executive director content and discovery and divisional CEO Jisc Collections, Jisc said: “Jisc Collections is very pleased to work with Alexander Street Press on bringing this evidence based acquisition model to the attention of academic libraries. The model has worked very successfully for some libraries in the acquisition of e-books and we believe it has the same potential in the area of multimedia.”


BBC: Pitching for “The One Show”

Below is an abstract I have submitted to “The One Show” – who knows if it will get picked up or not, they may already have something lined up, but worth an email (or few!)

“September 3rd 2009 marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 2000 a poster was discovered in the bottom of a box of books, bought at auction by a book-seller in Alnwick.  The poster, designed by the Ministry of Information in 1939, was intended to be posted in the event of an invasion.  It was (probably) distributed around the country in the same way that other posters were – to post offices, train stations, etc.  Two other posters in the series “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will bring Us Victory” and “Freedom is in Peril, Defend it with all your Might” were posted widely.  But as Britain was never invaded, “Keep Calm and Carry On” was never used.

Until now…!

The poster has had a resurgence, particularly since November 2008, when the credit crunch really hit, with many using it as a mantra to get through their daily lives.  Catching the mood of the nation it has been widely distributed, copied onto mugs, T shirts and student walls.


Dr Bex Lewis is an expert on 2nd World War propaganda posters.  Her blog gets many hits about “Keep Calm and Carry On” and it’s variations (which include “Now Panic and Freak Out!”)

Bex Lewis completed her PhD entitled “The planning, design and reception of British Home Front propaganda posters of the Second World War” in June 2004 (examined by Asa Briggs) at the University of Winchester.  She is currently a Lecturer in History, and Associate Lecturer in Media Studies at the University of Winchester.”