Just out this week is this report from OFCOM in the UK: Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report [October 2013].
It’s worth a read through, even at the Exec Summary level, as it offers an interesting snapshot of where usage of the web and devices to access it are rising and falling amongst young people – and how parents are responding. Key points raised include:
- “There has been a decline in the number of 5–15s owning a mobile phone;
- The use of tablet computers at home has tripled among 5-15s since last year;
- Children’s preference for internet-enabled devices reflects changes in how and why they are going online;
- For the first time there has been a decrease in the number of children with social networking profiles; and
- Most parents of 5-15s say that they know enough to keep their child safe online; but around half of parents feel that their child knows more about the internet than they do.”
Of note are the concerns raised about lack of preparedness amongst families and young people to manage cyber-challenge, particularly when faced with unknown people in social networks.
An important ‘so what?’ here is not so much the tracking of changing usage of devices but the way in which families are responding. There is a conversation to be had here with schools around how we can work in partnership with parents to provide a coherent response to support young people to make the most of online opportunities as safely as is reasonably possible to manage.
In the light of the Los Angeles’ students abilities to hack their iPads, and the unawareness of many parents in this OFCOM report re young people’s abilities to work around filters and blocked sites, perhaps the conversation needs to move from one of prohibition, to one of guided support.