Another interesting e-safety related report has just been published by Oxford Internet Institute and Parent Zone, which suggests that previous thinking about the best way to keep children safe online may be wrong.
This study of more than 2000 14-17 years olds across the UK suggests that rather than restricting or monitoring internet use, parents should let their children discover the net, both good and bad, themselves.
The study also concludes the following:
UK children are among the most monitored in Europe, with most of the big ISPs offering parental controls. But this is no replacement for good parenting.
This once again illustrates the importance of working in partnership with parents and carers to ensure a good balanced approach to children’s use of technology. It’s not the technology’s fault, whether it be an iPad, games console or a TV, as technology is ‘neutral’ but rather the usage that parents allow.
One of the main conclusions that the study finds is that:
Children who have positive offline relationships with their parents are more likely to navigate the web in a sensible way.
Even though this study focuses on a particular age group, this clears applies to children and young people of all ages.
Children should be empowered and proactively educated to know how to keep themselves safe online. They should possess a clear understanding of their online behaviour and the responsibility of their actions.
Children and young people should also know who they can talk to if they are concerned about anything or anyone they have encountered online. They should talk to a trusted adult at home or at school. Alternatively they should contact e-safety organisations directly such as CEOP or Childline.