Posts Tagged ‘Survey’

Parents Failing to Protect their Young Children from Porn

December 9, 2012


The internet has made the job of parents a great deal harder:

More than four in ten parents say that their children have been exposed to internet porn, an official survey reveals.

Almost a third say their sons or daughters have received sexually explicit emails or texts and a quarter say they have been bullied online or on their phones.

Many others have been exposed to websites promoting anorexia, self-harm and even suicide.

The frightening insight is contained in a round-up of responses to a Department for Education consultation on parental internet controls obtained by this paper.

Click on the link to read A Case of Parenting at It’s Worst

Click on the link to read The Most Popular Lies that Parents Tell their Children

Click on the link to read Dad’s Letter to 13-Year Old Son after Discovering he had been Downloading from Porn Sites

Click on the link to read A Parent that Means Well Doesn’t Always Do Well

Click on the link to read A Joke at the Expense of Your Own Child


Top 10 Ways Children Hide Their Online Activity From Parents

July 2, 2012

It’s important to be aware of what your children do online. To achieve this one must also be aware of the “tricks” they pull in order to hide their activity.

A recent survey entitled, Teen Internet Behavior study released last week by McAfee, the online-security tech company, found that children are really good at covering their tracks.

The following are the top 10 ways children hide online behaviour from their parents:

-Clearing the browser history (53 percent)

-Closing/minimizing browser when a parent is around (46 percent)

-Hiding or deleting messages and videos (34 percent)

-Lying about online activities (23 percent)

-Using a computer parents don’t check (23 percent)

-Using an Internet-enabled mobile device (21 percent)

-Using privacy settings to make certain content viewable only by friends (20 percent)

-Using a browser’s private viewing mode (20 percent)

-Creating private email address unknown to parents (15 percent)

-Creating duplicate/fake social network profiles (9 percent)

The Punishment That Used to Work but No Longer Does

June 18, 2012

When I was a child there was no punishment more feared than a suspension from school.  The idea that the Principal could at any moment call your parents to pick you up and take you home was enough to make any child think before breaking a rule. But times have changed and suspensions have lost their effectiveness. This is partly due to it being metered out for minor offenses such as answering back and rudeness and partly due to a change in parenting styles.

If my parents were given the call to pick me up early they would have been furious. They would have immediately sided with the school and grounded me at home. Nowadays, parents take their children’s side and embrace them rather than berate them. When the child returns to school after their suspension, it is common to hear them boast about being taken out for a coffee and spending the afternoon playing video games.

It is no wonder that a recent survey has labelled suspensions as ‘counterproductive’:

SUSPENDING students from school for bad behaviour is counterproductive, with students who have been suspended twice as likely to be excluded again in the next 12 months.

Research by Australian Catholic University professor Sheryl Hemphill found about 6 per cent of students in Years 6-8 have been suspended, rising to 12 per cent of Year 10 students.

“Kids who are suspended just keep getting suspended. It doesn’t stop the behaviour that resulted in the suspension, it almost sets them on a pathway more likely to lead to suspension,” she said. “The risk for students who are having trouble maintaining engagement and staying at school is that suspension starts to help them move out of school.”

As part of a series of reports on problems in our nation’s schools, The Australian has found that suspended students were 50 per cent more likely to engage in antisocial behaviour and 70 per cent more likely to commit a violent act in the next 12 months.

Professor Hemphill said the policy of excluding students from school as punishment for bad behaviour sent a mixed message: every child must attend school, except on some occasions.

“It’s so contradictory to everything else we’re trying to do,” she said. “We’re trying to keep kids in school longer, we know the positive benefits of keeping them connected to further study and training for employment.

“Suspension doesn’t fit with the current policy environment, a lot of which promotes connection with education, because suspension is potentially a way of cutting off students.”

The problem with scrapping suspensions is that it leaves teachers with fewer options in dealing with class discipline issues.

Click here to read about my post on teachers being stripped of the ability to give punishments that work.

UK Kids Don’t Know Where Milk or Bacon Comes From!

June 17, 2012

What is the point of filling curriculums with the latest in nonsensical new-age methodology and a raft of programs that are time-consuming but utterly ineffective when our children don’t even know the basics? It seems that we are allowing our kids to become selfish and insular, far more concerned about themselves than the world around them. It is essential that our children become more aware of the world around them.

More than a third of 16 to 23-year-olds (36%) do not know bacon comes from pigs and four in 10 (40%) failed to link milk with an image of a dairy cow, with 7% linking it to wheat, the poll of 2,000 people for charity Leaf (Linking Environment and Farming) found.

Some 41% correctly linked butter to a dairy cow, with 8% linking it to beef cattle, while 67% were able to link eggs to an image of a hen but 11% thought they came from wheat or maize.

A total of 6% of those questioned knew that salad dressing could come from rapeseed oil, compared with the national average among all age groups of 24%.

Although four in 10 young adults (43%) considered themselves knowledgeable about where their food comes from, the results revealed a “shocking” lack of knowledge about how the most basic food is produced, the charity said.

Leaf chief executive Caroline Drummond said: “We often hear reports that our food knowledge may be declining but this new research shows how bad the situation is becoming.

“Despite what they think, young adults are clearly becoming removed from where their food comes from.

“Three in 10 adults born in the 1990s haven’t visited a farm in more than 10 years, if at all, which is a real shame as our farmers not only play an important role in food production but are passionate about engaging and reconnecting consumers too.”

The charity, which is organising an Open Farm Sunday event this weekend, also found almost two-thirds of young adults (64%) did not know that new potatoes would be available from British farms in June, and one in 10 (10%) thought they took less than a month to grow.

OnePoll surveyed 2,000 C adults online between May 11 and 14.

Parents of Underage Facebook Users Should Be Reported: Principal

May 7, 2012

I am a big advocate of Facebook’s age requirement specifications. Children under 13 have no place having a Facebook page. They are simply too young to manage a Facebook page with maturity.

As much as I approve of the age requirements, everyone knows that underage kids have no difficulties getting their Facebook page and Primary schools are teaming with underage Facebook users. This poses deep concerns from a cybersafety and cyberbullying point of view.

However, to suggest that parents of underage children should be reported to child services, both cheapens the important role that child services play in the welfare of our children and labels well-meaning but naive parents as incompetent and unfit for the job:

The issue of underage children creating profiles on social networking sites like Facebook and how to control it can be a problem for both privacy and security — something one UK principal apparently believes should be taken further.

Sister site CNet reports that as there are so many underage children on Facebook — signed up with or without parental consent — one educator believes official, legal consequences for breaking the rules should be put in place.

The school principal of St. Whites School in the Forest of Dean, Paul Woodward, has reason to believe over half of the students in his school are on social networking sites including Facebook. However, the problem is that St. Whites School’s attending students are between the ages of 4 and 11 — far below Facebook’s minimum age in relation to its Terms of Service.

Woodward, speaking to the Daily Mail, believes this issue is serious, and it may be something that official channels should become involved in:

“It’s illegal for you to do this, you shouldn’t be doing it for your child. You need to close down that account, or I might have to tell the safeguarding people that you are exposing your child to stuff that’s not suitable.”

The ’safeguarding people’ are child-protection services, usually reserved for cases of abuse, domestic problems or suspicions of violence. Perhaps this could be considered a drastic move, but as online networks often contain material not suitable for children of a certain age, the logic is understandable. If parents facilitate their child’s access to such networks, then perhaps they can be considered culpable.

A survey completed earlier this year by company Minor Monitor indicated that while over 70 percent of parents were concerned with their child’s activities on Facebook, 38 percent of all children on the social networking site are under 13 — and 4 percent are under 6 years of age.

Facebook says it removes approximately 20,000 underage users daily, but it is also important to note that parents are creating profiles for their children. New parents — you may want to remove that profile you created for your baby. (They probably won’t appreciated their baby photos being online once they’ve grown anyway).

Educating parents is a far more workable strategy than threatening them. I have never heard of a Principal who has gone public with a threat to report half the parents in their school to social services. That’s courage for you!

I commend Mr. Woodward for his conviction and his desire to see that his students stay safe and follow the law. I just think that in doing so, he went way too far.

Cyberbullying is More Harmful than Traditional Bullying

March 15, 2012

I’ve been of the opinion for quite a while that cyberbullying is the form of bullying that does the most harm and is the hardest to address. By invading the home of the child, cyberbullying takes an environment that was traditionally safe and has ensured that victims of such bullying have nowhere to hide. Cyberbullying also reaches a far wider audience, replacing the half a dozen or so witnesses in a playground incident with literally thousands online.

Children think face-to-face bullying is more harmful than cyber bullying but new research shows that perception to be false.

Researchers from Queensland University of Technology surveyed over 3000 students in Years 6 to 12 from 30 schools nationally and found 45 per cent said they were bullied.

The victims of face-to-face bullying, often referred to as traditional bullying, reported it had harsher impacts than victims of cyber bullying. However, other signs show the opposite to be true.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Marilyn Campbell, said victims of cyber bullying reported higher levels of anxiety and depression than children who had been bullied face-to-face.

“When we measured their social problems, children who had been cyber bullied had much higher scores than victims of traditional bullying but they didn’t see it themselves,” Campbell told Education Review.

Campbell said children were usually bullied by kids they knew and often because they were different.

“It’s a cycle. They go to school, they get bullied. They go home and get cyber bullied. They go back to school and are bullied again.”

It is absolutely vital that schools stop sitting on their hands and start becoming more proactive when it comes to fighting cyberbullying. Schools are quick to point out that since the bullying is done outside school gates it becomes a parenting issue rather than a school issue. That may be true when it comes to legal obligations but not moral obligations. Schools should be expected to do what they can to ensure that their students are protected from being harassed or bullied by other students, regardless of where the harassment takes place.

Schools have got to stop obsessing about potential lawsuits and handballing issues to other stakeholders. They must show they care and fight for the wellbeing of their students!

Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

March 1, 2012

It is my belief that the job of a parent is to parent and the job of the teacher is to teach. Sure it’s wonderful when parents take it upon themselves to help reinforce skills taught in class. I am always appreciative of parents that spare some time to revise concepts covered during the school day. But essentially, I am paid to ensure that the parents can spend textbook-free quality time with their children. This is in my view essential to maximising the relationship of child and parent. Children often show a reluctance to work through school material with their parents and parents often get very anxious when trying to get their children to concentrate and listen to their explanations.

It is my job to see it that parents are free to spend time with their children without having to go through the ordeal of maths and science work. That’s what they pay me for.

But unfortunately, it seems that we are not doing a good enough job. It seems as if parents have often been given little choice but to try to fill in the gaps we have left behind. You hear too many stories of parents frantically trying to complete their own childs’ homework, sometimes struggling to work out the answers themselves:

A quarter of parents in Reading admit that helping their children with homework leads to family arguments, according to a survey.

Research by tuition provider Explore Learning also showed 9.2 per cent rarely helped their children with homework with more than two thirds struggling when they did.

Maths confuses parents the most with 41.2 per cent of parents finding the subject hard to grasp compared to the 11.1 per cent of parents who find English difficult.

Nationally, nearly a third of parents admitted homework had caused friction in the family with Reading not straying far from the average when it came to struggling in maths and English.

It’s time we let parents bond with their children instead of getting them to do our dirty work. Homework, if administered at all, should be revision of concepts covered in the class. If the children are not capable of doing it independently it shouldn’t have been given to them in the first place.

4 Million Children in the UK Don’t Own a Single Book

December 5, 2011

If we continue to sit there passively watching whilst reading and literature dies a slow death, we will be all the worse for it. To read that books are extinct from up to 4 million British homes is quite distressing.

Almost 4 million UK children do not own a book, research suggests.

The latest report by the National Literacy Trust discloses that one in three does not have a book of their own.

The number has increased from seven years ago, the last time the poll was conducted, when it stood at one in 10 youngsters, meaning the number of children without books has tripled.

The latest survey, which was based on a survey of 18,000 children aged between eight and 16, shows that boys are more likely to be without books than girls.

Why parents buy the latest phone for their young children before something they really do need like a library of books is something I’ll never understand.

Sexual Harassment Rampant in Schools

November 7, 2011

Just when you thought that respect for girls and women was on the marked improve comes yet another reminder that things are not what they seem:

During the 2010-11 school year, 48 percent of students in grades 7-12 experienced some form of sexual harassment in person or electronically via texting, email and social media, according to a major national survey being released Monday by the American Association of University Women.

 The harassers often thought they were being funny, but the consequences for their targets can be wrenching, according to the survey. Nearly a third of the victims said the harassment made them feel sick to their stomach, affected their study habits or fueled reluctance to go to school at all.

The survey, conducted in May and June, asked 1,002 girls and 963 boys from public and private schools nationwide whether they had experienced any of various forms of sexual harassment. These included having someone make unwelcome sexual comments about them, being called gay or lesbian in a negative way, being touched in an unwelcome sexual way, being shown sexual pictures they didn’t want to see, and being the subject of unwelcome sexual rumors.

The survey quoted one ninth-grade girl as saying she was called a whore “because I have many friends that are boys.” A 12th-grade boy said schoolmates circulated an image showing his face attached to an animal having sex.

In all, 56 percent of the girls and 40 percent of the boys said they had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment during the school year.

After being harassed, half of the targeted students did nothing about it. Of the rest, some talked to parents or friends, but only 9 percent reported the incident to a teacher, guidance counselor or other adult at school, according to the survey.

In my view there are two main reasons for this disturbing set of figures:

1.  Schools have become hamstrung when it comes to access to appropriate and effective consequences for infringements such as bullying and harassment.  Call the parents?  No big deal.  They gave up long ago.  Suspensions?  Nowadays you get a suspension for talking out of turn.  Suspensions have lost their impact because they are metered out out too readily.  In the end, no punishment given seems to come close to matching the crime.

2.  Schools have been notorious at turning a blind eye to incidents.  I am not talking about all schools, yet in truth, plenty goes under this category.  Teachers have been taught not to get emotionally involved with their students.  The result being, an emotional distance which inhibits the teachers capacity to pick up on these things,  Teachers must have enough of a connection with their students (within the obvious professional parameters of course), as to notice when things are not right with their them.  They are intrusted to look after their students and must do so by being proactive.  Kids are told from an early age not to dob on a classmate.  If teachers wait around for things to get reported to them, they will miss the opportunity to intervene and change a potentially abusive situation.

We must expect schools to be proactive with harassment.  They must be able to use tough and uncompromising punishments and show enough of an interest in students as to detect a problem before it gets completely out of hand.

Parents Helping Their Children Lie To Get On Facebook

November 2, 2011

To those parents who are contemplating assisting their underage children to get on Facebook, I strongly suggest you reconsider.  The age requirements for Facebook is necessary, as Facebook has a clear downside.  From cybersafety issues to cyberbullying, Facebook is clearly not designed for pre-teens.

Almost all parents of ten-year-olds signing up for the site – 95 percent – were aware of what their children were doing, and 78 percent of those helped them do it.

“Although many sites restrict access to children, our data show that many parents knowingly allow their children to lie about their age — in fact, often help them to do so — in order to gain access to age–restricted sites in violation of those sites’ ToS,” the authors write.

“This is especially true for general–audience social media sites and communication services such as Facebook, Gmail, and Skype, which allow children to connect with peers, classmates, and family members for educational, social, or familial reasons.”

The survey found that 55 percent of 12-year-olds, 32 percent of 11-year-olds and 19 percent of 10-year-olds were active Facebook members.

The authors suggest that the COPPA rules may need re-examination, given that they appear only to be encouraging parents to lie. Universal, rather than age-based, privacy protecitons might make more sense, they say.

The full report is here.

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