Digital Christmas

Presents unwrap more than paper

With Christmas just around the corner, many children will be hoping for the latest iPhone X, or indeed their first ever phone. Two weeks away from schoolmates and with a new device at their fingertips, children are vulnerable to making online mistakes as they excite in the joy of their new gadget and the opportunity to connect with their friends.

These gifts open them up to a whole new world of fun, opportunity and risk.



These digital kids are no different to children of old – they crave attention and they want to push boundaries and what better way to do it than through social media? As their family sit relaxed enjoying the Christmas TV specials are they aware of just what their children are doing online?

Schools throughout the country offer excellent online safety education and strive to use new and innovative ways to keep the children engaged on the topic. However once children are in the comfort and safety of their own home, perhaps bored due to the lack of structure the holiday brings, they can start to take risks.

By the time the term begins, pastoral staff can find themselves with a queue of children and parents all concerned and upset about social media incidents that have taken place in the holiday period and spilled into the classroom. There is only so much the school can do – parents need to understand that giving a child a device is opening a can of worms.

A step by step approach is needed, no child is allowed to jump on a plane to New York unaccompanied – freedom is given gradually over time, starting with trips to the local shop, then town and so on. Yet with the online world it tends to be all or nothing. Parents need to engage with the online world and replicate the step by step approach to parenting that occurs offline.

As teachers all you can do is signpost your families – they need to know that as the world evolves so does the online offering. Filters on wifi are an easy win for parents, this is not about not trusting your child when they search for things, more ensuring they are protected from images they most likely do not want to see. ChatFOSS is also a useful app – it enables families to communicate with each other in privacy without contact from others – and has an age rating of 3+. It is a great environment for children to practice sending messages and photos.

Whilst teachers strive to educate children about the online world and the opportunities and risks it brings with it, parents also need to be engaged. Easier said than done but it is time parents realised the responsibility of online behaviour has to lie at the door of the parents. Schools can be helpful and offer advice and training, signpost their parents to useful apps such as ChatFOSS and websites such as Internet Matters, but without the parents being involved children will learn the hard way – online mistakes are permanent and there for whole world to see.

E-safety Support would like to thank Alicia from ChatFOSS for her thoughts on this topic. For more information about the ChatFOSS service, click here

Written by Alicia Coad on November 30, 2017 13:44

What turns young people off apps?

E-safety TabletA new piece of Voxburner research into young people and their attitudes and behaviours when it comes to using apps reveals that 67% of 16-24s find ads the biggest turn-off when it comes to apps.

Apps that take too long to load (45%), too many push notifications (34%) and requiring to login to use an app (30%) were other key reasons apps can be a turn-off for young people. 35% of respondents also shared of their frustration when an app isn’t available on their mobile platform.

28% of respondents say they always turn off push notifications as soon as they download an app, whilst 60% say they will turn them off if they get too many notifications. 43% say that negative reviews will have an impact on whether they decide to download an app.

The majority of 16-24s (73%) have a core number of 1 - 10 apps that they use on a weekly basis, despite 53% saying they have more than 30 apps downloaded on their phone in total. 14% of respondents have over 50 apps downloaded, whilst 4% have more than 100.

It’s social networking apps (81%) and game apps (70%) that are used the most often - Tumblr, Spotify, YouTube and BBC all feature highly. Weather apps, included in so many default installations, are popular, with 42% of those surveyed using them actively each week. We see that women are more interested in health and fitness apps and photo and video apps, whilst men are using sports and entertainment apps more than women. Blackboard and Evernote were mentioned specifically by students or recent graduates as the top app that helped them at university this year.

Commenting on the results, Precious Hamilton-Brown, Creative Coordinator for Swiftkey, says: “The best apps are those that solve a problem and stand the test of time - the ones you rely on regularly because they improve the overall experience of using your phone. Some apps entice a download but then remain neglected until that inevitable day when your storage space is low and it’s time for a ruthless deleting spree! Young people rightly have high expectations when it comes to giving away a prime spot on their homescreen. They expect quality apps that deliver genuine value, keeping them coming back for more. Companies that want to grow their teenage fanbase must have integrity, credibility and not rest on their laurels for a moment.”

When asked how they feel about the new Facebook messenger app, 44% of 16-24s say it annoys them that it’s now a separate app, whilst 15% say they don’t use Facebook on their phone at all.

Luke Mitchell, Head of Insight at Voxburner, says: “The number of apps young people keep on their phone indicate that there’s no space for those that aren’t providing fun or utility. Annoy them with excessive push notifications or intrusive ads and you’ll feel the full impact of the ‘uninstall’ button.

Claire, aged 18 from Medway, adds: “Facebook just seems to get boring, it's the same old thing day in day out. Typically the other apps [YouTube, WhatsApp, Skype] seem to be more direct communication with individuals, a platform for conversation, or in YouTube's case, watching and finding new things, whether it be music, funny cat videos or anything else.”

Jennie, aged 20 from Brighton, says: “I recently upgraded my phone to the iPhone 5C. It took me a while to decide whether to get an iPhone or change to a Samsung but in the end I decided it would be easier to stay with the iPhone (I had a 4 before) as I wouldn't lose all my apps and wouldn't have to faff around sorting out my music either.”

The full research on Young people and apps can be downloaded for free on the Voxburner website.

Written by E-safety Support on July 31, 2014 09:10


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