Blog / AVG Ambassador Event Round Up
Friday, 17 June 2011 at 04:12
Protecting children in today’s online world is challenging and complex and most parents need far more advice, guidance and education to find the right balance for their kids.
This was the main thrust of a vigorous debate hosted by AVG in London last night and attended by UK mummy bloggers, child safety experts and policy makers, broadcasters and publishers.
The event was held in conjunction with AVG’s release of its Half Term Report for its yearlong Digital Diaries campaign that looks at the changing nature of childhoods today in 10 countries across the world.
Key findings from the three stages of the research so far, which in total covers children from birth to nine-years-old, are:
- Kids have an “online footprint” at six months
- More small children can play a computer game than ride a bike
- 6-9 year olds spend 3.5 hours a week online
It is clear that today’s children are growing up in a very different world, vastly different from the world even 10 years ago, when social networking was still in its in infancy and iPads and iPhones were a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye.
But last night’s debate clearly highlighted the ongoing need for parents to be educated in keeping their children safe online. Strong views were aired on a variety of topics by the 19 delegates, but there was a consensus that parents needed more advice.
Eva Keogan, founder of NIXDMINX, summed it up well. “Parents need more advice. Many don’t know about Twitter or Facebook. A few years ago it was MySpace, but where has that gone. It’s an ever-changing landscape.”
Sian To, founder of CyberMummy, agreed that while some parents had the skills and knowledge to teach their children about what is safe and what isn’t safe online, many don’t, and educating parents was key.
Facebook as usual was a hot topic, with some attendees believing that parents should be given administration rights to their children’s profiles until they become adults.
Cyberbullying was another area that provoked fierce debate. Mary MacLeod, Independent Family Policy Advisor, Internet Watch Foundation, highlighted the amplification effect of social networking in spreading bullying images or messages around the Internet.
She said that some children are in a really bad place. “Before the advent of social networks, when children were bullied at least the home was a safe place, but now the home is not necessarily a safe place where children can escape bullying because it can be online.”
Jonathan Baggaley, head of education at CEOP, the child protection agency, was keen to empathise that there were some positives as well. He said that many schools had improved their anti-bullying policies and were starting to address cyber bullying.
He also added that there is a lot of content, resources and tools for parents and children available, through the likes of organisations like CEOP or indeed companies like AVG. Educating parents and getting them to embark in a dialogue with their children so that kids also benefit from using online technology.
What remains clear from the debate is that parents are the key to helping children be safe online, and that organisations and policy makers, publishers, mummy bloggers and companies like AVG, all have a responsibility to help educate parents, so they in turn can help teach their children safe online practices.
AVG will continue to research this topic, so look out for our final two stages of research from its Digital Diaries campaign into online childhood safety this autumn.
Download Digital Diaries Half Term Report
Photos of the event will be uploaded soon.
Source: AVG Blogs | AVG Free Edition