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17/7/2011 Dear Mumsnet community, I would very much like to get your view about an issue that is not being tackled at the present time.
The concern I have is about young children and the use of 'new' technology ie smart phones and tablets etc, and access to the Internet.
My wife and I have 6 grand children, and the eldest will be 5 in September. Within the next 10 years or so they will have access to these devices and be using them regularly. I want to start a discussion now about how parents and carers can monitor what their children and charges are doing with these devices. At some stage the children will become adults and then it will be their responsibility, but parents are responsible for their children and that includes access to technology.
How are parents going to be able to be responsible for monitoring use of technology without more sophisticated tools than those that are available today?
It is clear to me that we will see more and more function added to more and more sophisticated devices, but no one is talking about more protection for vulnerable users, and I include in that category my grandchildren. A proposal needs to be made that both manufacturers and software companies can work with and that regulatory bodies can monitor. And it requires education on a huge scale. Maybe this topic needs a dedicated website?
I think we need an organization like Mumsnet to articulate this need and help make it happen. I would very much like to get views on this, and where I should go next?
Who would of thought that it was possible to 'hack' virtually anyone?s mobile phone voicemail a week ago? It seems that we all have to be more wary about the use of new information technology, and none more so than our children and grandchildren.
My view is that we have to give this topic a much higher priority - to assist parents and carers with something that is potentially helpful and useful as well as being potentially dangerous.
Thank you for your help with this. Any advice or suggestions would be helpful, and very gratefully received,
My DS is only 4 just now but I've worried about this too, how I will protect him when he's older, I've thought about only allowing him to have these things if he'll agree to let me check it when I want. I hope that this issue will be more strongly considered and acted upon when DS is older, I find it really worrying that more isnt done now.
Not only does it have information for parents and children, but as it is set up by Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (here) it has a very realistic view of the threats facing young people and children today.
I think a really good idea would be mobiles etc with optional parental filters, possibly to be controlled remotely via a computer or designated phone.
These phones could then be targetted at parents who want some control over what their children view.
Either that or more phones available that do not have internet access, video etc. so that parents can allow their children to have a phone for emergencies without worrying about what their child can access.
(Personally I wouldn't want to give a child a fragile and expensive smart phone anyway!)
Currently I don't have children, but plan to. And being a geek I'd feel a little bit of a hypocrite denying access to technology. While I could easily sort out parental features on a laptop/PC, smartphones seem a little trickier.
Hmm.. maybe I should do some reading on coding apps for phones... watch this space.
My family has a web safety strategy, which is something we worked on together and all signed (including my husband and 2 kids). If you have boundaries and consequences, everyone knows what is expected and you're all on the same page.
I also stay as informed as possible using www.kiwicommons.com They cover everything from late-breaking web safety news to hot topics like sexting and cyberbullying.
I think that reliance on software or regulations is wrong, and that parents need to take a more active role in protecting their children by talking to them openly in an age appropriate manner about internet safety.
The issue with child protection software is that only protects your child when he is at home, or using family pc/phone/tablet. It does not protect him when he goes around to little Jonny around the corner, whose parents are either uncaring about what little Jonny gets up to on the internet, or not tech-savvy enough to put the protective software into place.