Wow, “danger”, “perils” to children, “help – before it’s too late”. What a scary Times headline! I am already shaking with fear before I’ve read it. Won’t anyone think of the children, and so on?
What is this scary thing? Of course, it’s the internet.
Mind the gap: The perils of failing to keep pace with your child online
A dangerous gap has emerged between web-savvy kids and parents. Professor Tanya Byron has launched a new campaign to help — before it’s too late
Hmm. This is to mark the launch of a campaign, a “grassroots campaign” no less. (There’s a beautiful phrase in US politics for a campaign that pretends to be a genuine upsurge of democratic will but actually, well, isn’t. Oh yes, the word is “Astroturf”)
The campaign seems to involve asking kids if they can use any tech and getting very afraid when they say yes..
The campaign’s catalyst is Byron, known for her television programmes The House of Tiny Tearaways and Am I Normal?, as well as the author of the government-backed 2008 Byron Review Safer Children in a Digital World, which resulted in the creation of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.
So, a tv child psychologist heads it. Hmm, why am I less than convinced by this whole thing? A tv child psychologist who also writes for the Times. And gets written about in the Times. Because, she’s also in the news today. (In the Times):
Ministers need to act swiftly on child safety, warns adviser
It’s Tanya, now known as “Gordon Brown’s adviser.”
Well who else could the government call on? Obviously, no amount of experience or qualifications or all-round peer-reviewed respect gained by any other child psychologist, or by any person who actually knows anything about the internet, could stand up against the fact that she’s got tv programmes.
(If you ever doubted that senior politicians are in thrall to the cult of celebrity at least as much as the people who read Heat (etc) magazines, Tanya is the living proof of your naivete.)
The busy Tanya is panicking about the UK not implementing some European directive on games classification. Or all of her recommendations, really. So she’s going from school to school asking questions, to support the idea that kids may know things about using the internet that their parents don’t. And that this is somehow inherently terrifying….
The games classification thing is typical of the kneejerk reactions of this “grassroots” campaign. For a start, it’s inherently counter-productive, in terms of their supposed goals. Would anything make a game more attractive to an early teenager than an 18 certificate?
Is there any evidence that playing pc or console games that are “too old for them” harms kids? Any evidence at all?
Is there any evidence whatsoever that parents are all in a strange population subgroup that failed to notice anything that happened over the last twenty years? Like the arrival of the Internet. How many adults do you know who don’t use computers or the net?
There’s a more internet and computer nonsense on the BBC today.
Tech addiction ‘harms learning’
Technology addiction among young people is having a disruptive effect on their learning, researchers have warned.
The study – Techno Addicts: Young Person Addiction to Technology – was carried out by researchers at Cranfield School of Management, Northampton Business School and academic consultancy AJM Associates.
(The AJM website mission statement says:
“Providing outstanding returns for investors along with excellent leadership in managing real estate projects is the AJM Associates mission.” I, for one, admire the conduct of educational research by profit-oriented real-estate companies and management schools….In your face, stuffy old educational academics. )
You can buy the study from Siigel Press for about $25. It’s on their “Bestseller” list. (Hardly surprising that it’s a best-seller. It got a free plug on the BBC, ffs)
The blurb talks up the shock value of this “bestseller”.
Technology addiction amongst young people, particularly in terms of facilitating social networking, is having a disruptive effect on positive attitudes towards learning. Read the results of this collaborative study spearheaded by Cranfield School of Management, Northampton Business School and AJM Associates. While students expressed little concern of addiction, technology obsession is hindering spelling skills, encouraging plagiarism and disrupting classroom learning. Download this report to learn the full details and the disturbing impact technology is having on today’s youth.
Call me a pedant – despite my possible incipient adult-onset internet addiction – but “While students expressed little concern of addiction,” doesn’t seem like correct grammar to me.
And surely they don’t really mean to claim that technology addiction is “facilitating social networking”?
If it was only possible to channel the energy that goes into manufacturing internet scares and turn it to a useful purpose, we could all be driving round in hot-air powered vehicles and could stop worrying about global warming,
Otherwise, I think that – if you really want to protect your kids online – you actually talk to them.