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MNHQ here: contribute to House of Lords 'Children and the Internet' inquiry
41

FinnMumsnet · 24/10/2016 16:02

Hello,

The House of Lords Communications Committee has been in touch with Mumsnet for help with an inquiry they’re currently conducting into children’s access to and use of the internet, looking at the risks as well as the benefits. The Committee will "investigate how children's use of the internet is governed and regulated, examining the roles that parents, schools, media companies and regulators should all play."

The Committee has been taking evidence from experts in child safety, law enforcement, legal affairs and psychology, and from a number of child protection charities, and would like to hear from Mumsnet users too.

They ask: “What role should parents play in this area? What about schools? Media companies? How about government or regulators? Our committee wants to hear what you have to say on the matter – as parents, as teachers, or in whatever capacity you feel strongly about it – to inform the debate.” How do your children interact with the internet? What worries you, and what benefits do you see for your children in growing up in an internet age?

If you’d like to make a contribution, please do comment in this thread, which the Committee will be monitoring. Alternatively, if you’d like to remain anonymous, feel free to email //[email protected], making clear in your message that you’d like to contribute as a Mumsnet user.

All submissions will inform the final report, due for publication in the new year, which will make detailed recommendations to the government, and to which the government must respond.

Thanks,
MNHQ

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bobgoblin23 · 03/11/2016 14:33

I want parental controls to be simple and universal across all platforms and devices. I should be able to set the phone/tablet/computer and trust that device is now set with the correct controls. It's unacceptable that my child could take a device to a wifi hot spot or a friends house, and access inappropriate content if their broadband is not content controlled.

My device should be mine to control and set up, this backdoor needs closing and only the tech companies working together can do it. They won't unless legislated to do so.

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scaevola · 03/11/2016 18:32

bobgoblin have you tried a device-based filter and found it wanting? For they definitely exist.

One thing that has struck me is how easy it is to underestimate how quickly and his young DC become tech-savvy. If you are not getting the right messages across in primary school it may well be too late. My teens could circumvent any tech measures I put in place if they were so minded.

There isn't going to be a tech 'silver bullet'. There was a brilliant MN post from Empusa (the 'unicorn' post) a few years ago, which still is absolutely spot on. It really does all come down to education, and monitoring of younger DC. A small child simply should not be left alone with an Internet-connect device.

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Theladyloriana · 03/11/2016 20:55

I think the big tech firms need to take more responsibility to ensure that hate speech isn't proliferated on their platforms, and that includes misogyny.

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GirlInASwirl · 04/11/2016 06:13

I also agree parental control systems on many sites, servers and apps are not nearly comprehensive enough. We have parental controls on all sites and update these regularly. My DS is also light years ahead of me in being tech- savvy - as are his teenage friends (who seem to come up with endless suggestions on how to access inappropriate content; which my son finds intriguing) The computers hackers and other dodgy characters that are intent on slipping really graphic content into what should be family- friendly sites are also more expert. Trying to monitor it all is a full time job - and to be honest a giant pain in the rear! I have found 'sex games' on child gaming sites, bestiality on a homework site under a 'Biology tab', adult dating sites under 'Citizenship'....all very tenuous links on sites that are meant for young ones. I would suggest more parental controls are not nearly sophisticated or updated enough.

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scaevola · 04/11/2016 07:41

I think trying to make the 'big tech firms' responsible for content is akin to expecting car manufacturers responsible for road safety.

Just as you need to be trained to drive safely, you need to be trained to use the Internet safely and in both cases understanding the dangers.

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FlouncingInAWinterWonderland · 04/11/2016 13:32

Scaevola I love that analogy.

It leads me to thinking though, we record accident and fatality details by car type and manufacturer - something like N10 report from memory, this helps puts pressure on manufacturers to incorporate safety features.

If we could somehow log explicit/ inappropriate content accessed from 'X device and Y supplier' , a quick log info option. The pressure could be put on suppliers because we as consumers would have the option to select a provider with a cleaner record in this area.

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random79 · 04/11/2016 15:20

This will probably be a bit of an essay, and a bit more disjointed than would be ideal. As a (brief) bio, I'm in my mid 30s, a man, a computer programmer and I have a

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ChittyBB · 05/11/2016 08:37

I think the key here is information and education. Parents and children need to be educated about the risks of the Internet. Not just the really nasty risks that make good headlines, like grooming and access to hard core porn, but the mental health effects that access to social media has on kids and teens. Schools and family centres are best placed to provide this advice and they should do so from a young age. Ultimately it's up to parents to choose how to regulate internet access but they need to make a well informed choice after being informed of all the risks.

Schools should ban all smart phones during my the school day as they distract from learning and kids share inappropriate content when out of sight of their parents. I can't understand why many schools allow phones in classrooms.

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Justputyourshoesonnow · 06/11/2016 02:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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cloudyday99 · 06/11/2016 18:59

I would love to see phone companies and broadband providers forced to offer parental controls that:

  • allow the account holder to view browsing history
  • block porn and chat rooms
  • allow the account holder to set which hours devices cannot be used in (ie nighttime)

    I'd also like to see child versions of social media accounts, open to around agree 11-13 when the child can have the account but the parent has a master password allowing them to see what is posted, including messaging, or (if they prefer) to monitor it all before it is posted. This would help parents to teach their child about social media use and get them used to it in a safer context. Much better that at present when most preteens have Instagram and Snapchat with no monitoring
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slightlyglitterbrained · 06/11/2016 20:45

cloudyday did you know that there are already apps you can buy that will allow you to set limits on your child's screen time across devices, let you see what sites they are browsing, let you block them from installing particular apps? Take a look at the features here for an example: screentimelabs.com/

Given that this is already readily available to parents, I think it's unnecessary and excessive to ask the government get involved here.

I like the idea of "transitional" social media accounts - maybe you should suggest this to the companies directly?

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random79 · 06/11/2016 21:41

cloudyday99 - the problem with what you've asked for is that it doesn't really work, barring applications on devices (like slightlyglitterbrained suggests).

The problem is that, like your bank, most websites use encryption to protect your data. When you visit facebook you'll notice that it has a little padlock next to it? That means that all your router (and ISP) can tell is that you have visited facebook - not what you've done, what you've seen, what you've posted.

This is also generally the recommended approach that the web is moving more and more towards, which is why the current "in-network" filtering that seems to be a big thing for the ISPs is such a silly idea.

If you're technically capable, you could intercept your child's traffic, but consider the damage if kids could have no privacy - the impact this would have on GLBT kids, amongst others. Your suggestion also provides "protection" only at home, not at other people's houses, or on public wireless.

(Note, you might ask why you could intercept your child's traffic but your ISP couldn't do it - it's mostly down to the fact that to intercept your child's traffic you have to effectively break the encryption that they have - would you want your ISP reading details of your bank account?)

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cloudyday99 · 06/11/2016 22:27

I'm aware there are apps. But that's no use unless you prevent your child having admin rights to their phone and computer which in my experience is problematic after a certain age, as it means there's a lot they can't do without you constantly having to log in for them. Not really appropriate for a 16 year old.

I can see the issues with browsing history, but would really like to be able to make devices go offline at a fixed time. We do this with our WiFi at home but my mobile provider said they can't switch mobile data off at night.

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random79 · 07/11/2016 13:06

cloudyday99 - I can understand to a degree your dilemma - I think you have to carefully balance between restrictions and otherwise.

I think that at the age you're suggesting (16) - you need to move beyond technological controls as a means of enforcing compliance on to persuasion. It won't be long before they can move out and they will have to learn sometime.

That said, I don't think it's unreasonable to remove administrator rights from a system IF the child is using the system irresponsibly. I assume you're not running super aggressive content filtering (if your content filtering requires constant entering of passwords either they are looking at some dodgy stuff or it is far too aggressive).

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slightlyglitterbrained · 15/11/2016 06:00

This makes pretty chilling reading:
www.theverge.com/2016/11/14/13596974/internet-freedom-decline-global-censorship-facebook-whatsapp

It's worth being aware of what we might lose with ISP level controls - would you want Trump or Putin deciding what you can discuss?

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slightlyglitterbrained · 16/11/2016 22:33

Also worth reading what the Open Rights Group has to say about recent proposals to censor legal websites for adults
www.openrightsgroup.org/campaigns/digital-economy-bill-hub/stop-uk-censorship-of-legal-content

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