Back to School

As the new school year gets underway Internet Matters has just published its latest safety advice. It’s aimed primarily at parents but I am sure lots of  teachers and many children will find all or parts of it very useful.

As you would expect, an important part of the guide takes you through what you can do at home using the parental controls that  the big four ISPs provide to their UK customers. There are links to some wonderful, easy to understand videos.

However, there is also a great section on games consoles, smartphones, apps and those ubiquitous “social networks”

Individual guides are also provided  to explain what you can do on a range of different platforms Although at first glance you might think it will only cover You Tube and Google, in fact if you click on the link there’s a lot more besides, including all the major games consoles, iTunes, and BBC iPlayer.

Usefully there  are in addition specific sections on  Instagram,   Whatsapp and Snapchat.

Interesting and weird statistics

Internet Matters did a little bit of number crunching. 

So now we know, for example, that Newcastle is the smartphone capital of Britain where a whopping 90.5% of 8-11  year olds  own one. The national percentage is  65%, by the way, so there is obviously something in the waters of the Tyne that is spurring them on. I’m embarrassed to say that my home town, Leeds, came near the bottom (46.2%) while otherwise generally funky Brighton was the actual bottom at 40%.

Less easy to explain is why, while 23% of parents “let” their children take a smartphone to school, apparently 80% of them nevertheless think smartphones should be banned from the playground. Clearly they either believe their little cherubs  will dutifully leave handsets in their back packs, desks or lockers or they are willing to allow teachers to get into frisking or patrolling the playground with either a metal detector or something that will pinpoint radio wave transmissions. Probably both.

About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International and is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John is now or has formerly been an Adviser to the Council of Europe, the UN (ITU), the EU and UNICEF. John has advised many of the world's largest technology companies on online child safety. John's skill as a writer has also been widely recognised.
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