Todays Children are being “raised online”

A recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) ahead of the impending Byron review, which will be offical released later today, has uncovering some interesting figures about how much time and access today’s youth has to the internet and technology.It states that “a generation of youth is being raised online”According to their findings many young people are spending in excess of 20 hours a week using popular sites such as bebo, Myspace and youtube ”. The research was conducted with young people aged between 13 and 18 from a variety of social-economic backgrounds via workshops and in-depth interviews.

The IPPR report recommends an increased involvement and responsibility on internet content by Ofcom, enforced if necessary by the government to protect young people from harmful internet content. It also recommends that popular sites should develop guidelines and limits for young people (also to be enforced by Ofcom) and should also commit to becoming members of the Internet Watch Foundation. The IPPR report will also propose that the DCFS should be given an overall control for “media literacy” and support parents in developing awareness, competency and key skills to help their children use the internet safely and manage risks accordingly.

Other findings in a report by Kay Withers called Behind the Screen: the Hidden Life of Youth (due to be published in April 2008) were that 80% (4 out of 5) of 5 – 15 year olds have access to the internet at home. 49% of 8 and 11 year olds, and 80% 12 to 15 year olds have their own mobile phone. Two in five (40%) of 8-11s and over two-thirds (71%) of 12-15s say they mostly use the internet on their own at home.Kay Withers stated that “The internet offers great benefits and opportunities for young people. But with kids spending an ever increasing amount of time online parents need to be reassured about what they are looking at. Government needs to improve media literacy programmes for kids and to make sure parents are aware of how they can support young people’s positive online experiences. But more importantly internet companies need to take more responsibility for the content on their sites and promote acceptable behaviour.” 

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