Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Talking about Alexa ‘Bedtime Reading’ with @EamonnHolmes on @talkRADIO

So, I was at MPA Thrive today, when I got a call from TalkRadio, asking if I would talk about the following story:

More than a quarter of parents are relying on Alexa and other apps to tell their children a bedtime story so they don’t have to, research suggests.

Charity BookTrust surveyed 1,000 parents with children under-10 to find out whether late night reading was still a key part of the daily routine, and discovered that many are instead relying on technology to do the job.

Only 28% said they managed to find the time to share a story with their youngsters every evening, with just under a third blaming work or commuting for missing out and one in five saying they simply felt “too busy”.

My initial response was:

Got some interesting responses from friends on Facebook (friends only link), and thanks to Barry Briggs who sent me some really interesting links to work that’s being done on the CBeebies Alexa Skill.

I found myself a glamorous location to take the call:

I’d made a few notes:

You can listen to the extract, or whole programme:

Thanks to Paul Jackson for this (and Mukal Devichand for offering to talk more):

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Talking about Datafication of Children, Social Media and Sharenting with @EamonnHolmes on @TalkRadio

The children’s commissioner for England is calling on internet giants and toy-makers to be more transparent about the data they are collecting on children (BBC). She has published a report: ‘Who Knows What About Me‘. I was asked by Talk Radio to think about the ethics of putting photos of your kids online, and at what age you should start asking for consent, what it means for data harvesting and online marketing, how it might affect people’s on/offline behaviour as they get older.

Here’s the audio:

and the segment was apparently reused later in the programme (thankfully with a reference to Manchester Metropolitan University!)

Preparation Notes:

  • Media/digital education have often focused more on the risks, can we change the conversation? Digital literacy remains key.
  • In a consumerist society where everything is driven by money, sharing is encouraged = drives advertising $, therefore the government needs to push (based on research). At Manchester Metropolitan University we teach students a unit on ethical and responsible marketing.
  • It should not be the default for everyone to have all this data, marketing companies collect quality over quantity just because they can (also think quals vs quants data) – I don’t have a FitBit (mix of reasons relating to disordered eating, and not wanting my entire life to be tracked, although aware my Smartphone does a lot of that).
  • Marketing ideally should be seeking a win-win relationship – matching ‘buyer’ and ‘seller’
  • Are fears every time a new technology comes in – need to be focusing on the right questions (e.g. screentime vs screen content; data collection individually vs aggregate).
  • As the technology changes, expect the legislation to proactively engage, but also need to ensure the companies are being held accountable (academics are well used to undertaking ethical processes in their research, and are accountable to the public for this).
  • There’s the question of which platform content is being shared on – a bounded space such as Facebook (choose audience) or a public site such as Instagram – and also how much information the particular picture gives away, and be talking about this from an early age (conversation is key)
  • Think about campaigns such as 5Rights – in which data can be wiped at age 18 *as a historian this feels a shame, but archives have never kept all information anyway!
  • Remembering that life is not risk free – and we can’t be struck inactive by fears, balanced with not being over-blase about what we share.

Articles Drawn Upon:

Articles I’ve written/quoted in:

Some stuff from LSE Children/Media Project:

  • Sharenting – in whose interests? (May 2017): Considering the difference between a legal model and a public health model (digital literacy), as there’s no consensus on what is appropriate to ‘sharent’. Includes 7 recommendations for managing sharing about children online.
  • Tiger Mom 2.0: (Over)parenting for a digital future? (July 2017): Talks about those who have grown up in the first generation of ‘helicopter parenting’ are now parents, and the pressure to share online ‘perfect parenting’, and the normalising of perfection.
  • Under the limelight: Celebrity parents sharenting (September 2017): Drawing upon research from Portugal, triggered by Cristiano Ronaldo posting many pictures of his son. Highlights the indirect benefits of sharenting for parents, but questions the lack of control of data for children who have no control over what is shared.
  • Could a child sue their parents for sharenting? (October 2017): My thought: with the right conversations and a desire not to embarrass/upset, then hopefully a legal resolution shouldn’t be needed, but it provides an option for when relationships have broken down.

something from The Conversation (March 2018), and this piece of data harvesting and marketers.

A few comments from friends:

  • I have a friend in Canada whose daughter asked her to stop posting pictures of her when she was four (i.e. she realised that she didn’t know who could see her pictures and also that she didn’t get to choose how she looked in them). Her daughter, now six, will occasionally give permission for photos to be shared but it’s always her call, not her parents’.
  • With my daughter, I can’t and won’t put anything up without her permission. And she asked me to take some of the previously posted pics down which I did. She’s 14.
  • My mate had a kid who’s now 4. When he was a baby she didn’t put anything up/told everyone no to. Now he’s old enough she asks him if he wants something put up and everyone else does the same. She was so determined in it and made it clear every family/friends event
Media & Press Media - Audio

Social media: helpful or hurtful in a crisis like #Manchester, Drive with @DelaneyMan, @TalkRadio

Thanks to all those who responded on Facebook regarding the story of ‘how problematic is social media for the kind of event that happened in Manchester (at the Ariana Grande concert)’, does it add to the drama, and what is the responsibility of social media companies in all this? Especially interested in this academic paper from Cardiff University in which the following stages of social media response to a crisis appear evident: reporting, requesting, responding/recruiting, risking, retaliation, rumour, remember and resilience (explained briefly in the clip):

Media & Press Media - Audio

[MEDIA] Discussing shocking images of Syrian children with @TalkRadio

On Sunday morning (after very little sleep), I discussed some of the recent images of Syrian children appearing in our social media feeds with Jake Yapp on Talk Radio (full podcast here). You can see the prep I did on Instagram:

When one conducts a radio interview (whilst still in PJs…)

A post shared by Bex Lewis (@drbexl) on

which included discussions on Facebook (which you can only see if you’re a FB friend), and read around content warnings, psychological studies, how to protect your brain, Sam Hailes on ethics at crisis point, and what makes an image horror, and PTSD in the Daily Mail.

Media & Press Media - Audio

[PRESS] Radio Interview about Graphic Images from #WestminsterAttack with @TalkRadio

This afternoon I had a chat with Jon Holmes on Talk Radio about the images that emerged from yesterday’s attack on Westminster. If you’re one of my Facebook friends, you can see the conversation I had with a few people before/after the radio interview. There was an interesting article in the New Statesman, an older one from World News Publishing Focus, and some advice from Winston’s Wish as to how to respond to children affected by the images seen. Plenty to think about… (and the full programme can be found here).