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The Learning Curve

Social Media Trends and your Child
Robert Cooke

To help keep children safe in Education, monitoring and educating their use of the internet and social media platforms are vital. In Positive Education and throughout the school our teachers speak to our students about the importance of healthy screen time and the importance of safe internet use.
As parents we would ask for your help and support with this very difficult task. We have noticed that young students have mobile phones and spend more screen time than before. They often have total internet 5G access and no parental control. 

As a community we must work together to help educate our children on the positive aspects of the internet but also the real dangers. Over the past few months the Safeguarding Alliance has advised schools throughout the UK of various influencers and trends that can jeopardise the safety of all our children.

For today’s students, life online can be just as important as what happens ‘in real life,’ as young people face a reality much different than those experienced by the majority of us. From school to social time, computers, smartphones, tablets, the Internet and social media touch every aspect of their lives. The influence of the online world cannot be underestimated, nor can we underestimate its potential impact on a student’s current wellbeing or their future. 

While there are tremendous advantages and opportunities available through technology, social media and the Internet, we do know there are also negatives. We only need to look at the recent situations at Harvard and Dalhousie Universities to see how someone’s online activity can impact on their future plans. As such, the education system has a role to play in helping students become good decision makers. As it is everyone’s responsibility to teach our young people how to navigate the Internet safely and responsibly, as well as to model good online behaviour, we are sharing these resources with you to encourage continued discussion of these topics at home.
 

 

Online access and attitudes 

  • Nearly all children went online in 2021 (99%); the majority used a mobile phone (72%) or tablet (69%) to do so.
  • More than a third (36%) of primary school-age children did not always have access to an adequate device for online learning at home, compared to 17% of secondary-age children.
  • One in ten primary-age children rarely or never had access (11%), compared to 3% in secondary school. 

 

Online behaviours

  • Using video-sharing platforms (VSPs) such as YouTube or TikTok was the most popular online activity among children aged 3-17 (95%); while the majority chose to watch content on VSPs, 31% posted content they had made themselves, especially those aged 12-17.
  • Among all types of online platforms, YouTube was the most widely used by children; 89% used it, compared to half using TikTok. But TikTok was more popular for posting content. 
  • A majority of children under 13 had their own profile on at least one social media app or site; 33% of parents of 5-7s said their child had a profile, and 60% of 8-11s said they had one. 
  • More than six in ten children aged 8-17 said they had more than one profile on some online apps and sites (62%); the most common reason, overall, was having one profile just for their parents, family or friends to see. 
  • Just four in ten parents of 3-17s knew the minimum age requirement for using most social media; 42% correctly said 13. Four in ten parents of 8-11-year-olds said they would allow their child to use social media (38%) for content consumption.
  • Children still watch live television but are more likely to watch paid-for on-demand streaming services; 78% watched services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, compared to 47% watching live TV. 
  • Scotland had the largest decline in broadcast viewing. 
  • Despite almost six in ten teenagers saying they used social media for news, it was the least trusted or accurate news source; 12-15s preferred to trust their family (68%) or the TV (65%) for news.

Parental concerns about children’s content consumption 

• Seven in ten parents of children under 16 were concerned about the content their child saw online; the aspects of greatest concern were age-inappropriate content such as violence, bad language and disturbing content and sexual or ‘adult’ content.

Parents had fewer concerns about the TV content their child watched than about online content: 46% were concerned about their child seeing bad language, violence or disturbing content on TV. 

Parents in Wales were more likely than parents in the other UK nations to be very concerned about some aspects of their child’s media use, such as their child giving out personal details to people online or seeing age-inappropriate content online or on TV. Online gaming

Six in ten children aged 3-17 played games online in 2021, increasing to three-quarters of 12- 17s. 

More than a third of 8-17s who gamed online played with people they didn’t know (36%); overall, 16% of 8-17s chatted to people they didn’t know, via the messaging/ chat functions in games.

 

Roblox Gaming Platform

Roblox is one of the most popular online gaming sites for children worldwide. In the UK specifically, it is the most popular gaming platform for children under 13. Roblox allows users to create their own games and play games that other users have created. It has no minimum age requirement and the giant amount of games available on the website means that not all games are appropriate.
There are a multitude of reports of children being scammed, groomed and exposed to inappropriate content on this site. Without any age or identity verification, Roblox opens an environment for groomers to target children. Children play games with strangers and the chat box function allows users to talk to anyone. File on 4, a BBC radio programme, recently carried out an investigation into Roblox and it is important that DSLs and parents hear what they found. 
 

 

How can I make Roblox safer for my child?

Parents are advised to monitor their children when playing on Roblox and change certain settings. Parents can add their emails to moderate who their children chat with.
Simply, add your email address to the account settings and add a passcode so this cannot be changed. Then, open the privacy menu where restrictions can be applied to in-game chats, personal invites and more. You can also monitor your child’s account by viewing private messages, chat history, friends, followers, purchase history and recently played games. Although adding a correct date of birth to your child’s account will trigger the appropriate safe chat filtering settings, there are no age restrictions on games. So, unsuitable games will still be available.
 

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at r.cooke@mougins-school.com

Ofcom Parents and children's Media Use and Attitudes Report 2022

TikTok Guardians Guide

Podcast on Roblox

  • ZOOM SUR