Posts Tagged ‘Ofcom’

The Overwhelming Challenge of Supervising Childrens’ Online Activity

April 25, 2012

There used to be a standard rule for parents about supervising their childrens’ internet surfing – make sure you take the computer out of their bedroom and into the living room. No longer does this rule work. With the introduction of 3G and 4G technology, lap tops, smartphones and mobile gaming consoles which all connect to the internet, our children can be online without even using a computer.

The challenges for parents are becoming so difficult:

An Ofcom study last year found that 91 per cent of children live in a household with internet access, but that only half of parents of five to 15-year-olds supervised their children’s internet use. A further three million children aged eight to 15 have a smartphone, according to a YouGov survey published in January.

Increasingly, there are fears about the content children are accessing, whether deliberately or by mistake, when they are unsupervised online.

Last week, a cross-party group of MPs warned that it was too easy for children to view pornography. They called for legislation to force internet providers to block access automatically to pornographic websites.

The potential for teenagers to outwit their parents is frequently used as an argument for network-level filtering. Its supporters argue that too many parents lack the technical know-how to secure their computers properly and too few will opt in to a filtering system that is not compulsory.

Set against that are free speech concerns: is it right that an internet provider decides which content is acceptable to be viewed and which should be banned? How do they decide what constitutes “adult” content – and what happens if they get it wrong?

Further, as Nicholas Lansman, of the Internet Service Providers Association, argues, such technology can give parents a false sense of security, leading to less active monitoring of what children are up to online. Filters can fail or be circumvented, and left to their own devices, teenagers will find a way to get what they want.

Technology can help but it can only go so far. Parents must set boundaries and discuss the risks with their children.

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, says: “It is very important to talk to your child about being safe online, taking them through the risks and what they mean. This includes not just your home PC, but anywhere where internet access is involved – including mobile phones and game consoles.

“Don’t be afraid to ask your own questions to get a sense of what they are getting up to online.”

Internet Addiction and our Children

October 26, 2011

We all love our internet connections and mobile phones and would find it extremely difficult to live without them.  However, addictions are still addictions, and there is no doubt that our children have grown a deep addiction to the internet.  So bad is the problem, that children have become more addicted to the internet than to TV:

Just 18% of children would miss TV most, compared to mobile (28%) and Internet (25%), finds Ofcom research

A new research by communications watchdog Ofcom has revealed that more young British teenagers can do without TV but not without mobile and the Internet.

Ofcom research found that just 18% of children aged 12 to 15 would miss TV most, compared to mobile (28%) and the Internet (25%). However, the research suggests that the teenagers are also watching more TV than ever before, with viewing figures increasing by 2 hours since 2007.

In 2010, children aged 4-15 watched an average of 17 hours and 34 minutes of TV per week, compared with 15 hours and 37 minutes in 2007. Nearly one third (31%) of children aged 5-15 who use the Internet are watching TV via an online catch-up service such as the BBC iPlayer or ITV Player, said Ofcom.

Ofcom’s research said that 95% of 12-15 year olds now have Internet access at home through a PC or laptop, up from 89% in 2010 and 77% in 2007.

Social networking is still one of the most popular uses of the Internet amongst 12-15s. Ofcom said that children are visiting social network sites more often on their mobiles. Half (50%) of 12-15s with a smartphone visit them weekly compared with 33% in 2010.

Children aged between 8-11 are more likely to use Internet for gaming, with 51% saying they play games online on a weekly basis, up from 44% in 2010. 8-11s are also spending more time playing on games players/ consoles compared with 2010 (9 hours 48 minutes – an increase of nearly 2 hours), said Ofcom.

In my school days television addiction was a problem.  Now we have another addiction which comes with the same side-effects.  It creates tired students who have been up so late they can’t concentrate.  It has compromised our children’s capacity to have healthy social interaction.  Playing with a friend has now become messaging a friend.  It’s just not the same.

As soon as people go from the moderate to the obsessive, they lose control of themselves.  Children today are certainly showing the signs of a lack of control, to the point where they are smuggling mobiles in their bags so they can reply to Facebook messages as soon as they receive them.

Kids require rules for their internet usage.  Rules that outline when, how and where they can use it.

 


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