When children go mobile report
The use of tablets and smartphones to access the internet is rising steadily among teenagers all over Europe.
A new study has confirmed this trend.
With a greater access to the internet, children have much greater opportunities to learn and develop their digital skills as well as other skills via e-learning, participation via social media and other communication channels, creativity and innovation by creating content such as videos, pictures, or even apps!
At the same time, there are lots of risks associated with this increase in use of mobile devices. Among the most common risks identified in the report we find:
– Exposure to negative user generated content, 31% of 11 to 16 year-olds (such as posts, comments, pictures or videos on social networks such as facebook or online sharing platforms such as youtube);
– Communicating online with someone the child has not met face to face before, 30% of 11 to 16 year-olds;
– Seeing sexual images off- and online, 29% of 11 to 16 year-olds;
– 27% of children aged 9-16 report being bullied on- or offline. The number of children who reported any form of cyberbullying on the internet or through mobile phones is 14%.
For parents, this poses digital parenting challenges such as learning to get familiar with new operating systems (such as iOS, Android and Windows Phone), new features (NFC, GPS), along with understanding the implications of being constantly connected with the ability to share and access content world wide 24/7.
Industry also has a role to play, making sure that parents have access to the right tools and features to support their children (some mobile operating systems still have poor parental control tool integration) but also designing their products to be more “child friendly”.
Other crosscutting issues raised with these developments are:
– Ensuring that children and teenagers have a balanced lifestyle with enough time devoted to sports, studying, social relationships;
– Exposure of children and teenagers to more advertising or commercial messages in general, detrimental to the development of their critical thinking skills and shaping their “consumer habits” early.
We have been following these developments closely and will continue to represent the interests of families in the digital world.
Can I Tell You Something?
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children called in a Childline survey for the voices of vulnerable children to be heard to tackle new emerging problems.
ChildLine’s ‘Can I Tell You Something?’ report shows a new and worrying trend of teenagers contacting the service about issues such as self-harm, suicide and online bullying.
This report clearly shows the deep unhappiness of thousands of young people. The biggest single problem is depression and unhappiness affecting nearly 36,000 children. 4,500 children between the ages of 12 and 15 rang because they needed to talk about suicide, and that is an increase of 43 per cent over the previous year.
ChildLine reports 87 per cent increase in contacts regarding cyber-bullying, whilst bullying contacts overall increased by just 8 per cent. Young people tell ChildLine that the 24 hour nature of online bullying means there’s no escape and it can lead to very serious feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and in a few desperate cases, suicide.
This Report is a real wake-up call. ChildLine is one of the most important sources of information about vulnerable children in the UK and these regular snap shots will help us keep one step ahead and focused on the areas that are really concerning them right now.