Is censorship of adult content the best way to educate children?

With the news this week that the Government is to impose ‘family-friendly’ restrictions on internet services, there are many welcoming the change. Any measures that can be implemented to help protect our children can only be a good thing.

But is, ‘family-friendly’ filtering there to stop the potentially corrupt and dangerous or is it there to stop the innocent? Children will be prevented from accessing adult content while the adults will have the ability to turn the filter off and view anything from the good to the bad and the frankly disturbing.

If we are worried that viewing adult material at a young age will have detrimental affects on today’s youth, do we take the option of tackling the situation head on or is a prohibitive approach the better option? Do we help them to learn what is right and what is wrong (as we would with many other topics such as healthy eating, social awareness and so on) or do we hide things away? Is filtering a sensible approach or is it just avoiding the issue and hoping we don't need to confront it.

I’m sure many of us were told as children that we were not allowed to do something and, of course, we did it anyway. Curiosity has a lot to answer for, so perhaps we should to let them explore, knowing what they might find and being prepared to discuss it. However, you wouldn’t let a child play with matches, we know that is dangerous… the debate is endless.

There are a good many pros and cons to the filtering solution, but as long as safeguarding is at the root of the decision rather than censorship, then there has to be some merits. However we mustn’t become complacent. This is not the only risk on the internet – so we can’t assume that our children will be safe once the legislation is in place.

If you have reactions to this topic or related ideas, share them in the comments section below.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on July 25, 2013 10:06

Gaming Addiction

As teachers, we regularly come across some of the hazards of the addictive qualities of computer games. I'm sure you will be familiar with the students who enter the classroom in a dream-like state, collapse into their chair and promptly put their head down on the desk and when you enquire as to the reason for their exhausted condition they mumble something like "I was playing 'Call of Duty' until 1am". Similar situations, such as the one described above, are played out in classrooms across the country and I'm sure that student's obsession with computer games is one of the main reasons that homework does not get completed on time.

There is, however, a more sinister consequence to gaming addiction.

In 2007, a 13 year old Vietnamese boy from Hanoi strangled an 81 year old woman for just $6.20. When the police interviewed him he said he needed the money to fund his obsession of playing online games.

In 2008, a teenager from Ohio, Daniel Petric, was convicted of shooting his mother and father because they had forbidden him to play 'Halo 3'. In court, Daniel's Defence Attorney stated that he was obsessed with the 'Halo' series of video games, which he played 18 hours a day when he had the chance!

In 2012, an online 'Xbox live' skirmish pushed a 17 year old to exchange his joystick for a knife and a gun, enter 20 year old Kevin Kemp's home, shoot at him and stab him 22 times.

Research, such as the study that was carried out by Chih-Hung Ko, a neurobiologist at the Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues in 2008, has proved that the extreme desire to play that gamers, who are obsessed by their favourite games, demonstrate, has the same neurological symptoms as drug addicts craving their next fix. The scientific study discovered that under MRI imaging the same areas of the brains of gaming addicts 'lit up' as those of addicts craving narcotics.

Dr. Ko's research was carried out as a consequence of the fact that there are now well over ten million people engaged in the online game 'World of Warcraft' and game statistics have exhibited that some players are spending incredible amounts of time playing the game - some spending 16 to 20 hours a day engaged with the game. This frequently results in their personal life acutely diminishing, they lose touch with their family and friends and their health deteriorates rapidly.

The phenomena of gaming addiction is increasing so rapidly that in the United States an online group, 'On-line Gamers Anonymous' ( www.olganon.org) has been set up with the aim to help gamers recover from personal issues that have arisen from excessive game-playing. Through an online community of recovering gamers, family members, friends and concerned others, OLGA hopes to support those at the early stages of addiction but encourage professional help to players who maybe exhibiting more serious symptoms. OLGA also exists as a one-stop shop for the gathering and collating of information and research on this new and not necessarily fully understood condition.

It would be easy to dismiss gaming addiction in young people as purely extreme self-indulgence by immature, lazy, teenagers who need to get a grip and concentrate on 'real life'. With the considerable number of people around the world now playing computer games however, coupled with the highly addictive qualities that game designers engineer into their creations, this attitude would appear to be remiss and irresponsible as plainly the condition of gaming addiction is very real and set to increase at a rapid pace. It is imperative therefore, that more research needs be carried out to fully understand what triggers the condition and to discover what are the best methods of treatment.

As teachers, it is our job to offer information, awareness and knowledge and to educate people, both young and old, of the dangers becoming addicted to computer games, to ensure that individuals can recognise if they themselves or a friend or relative are demonstrating symptoms that could indicate that their passion is becoming a dangerous addiction.

To assist you in preparing for your lesson or assembly plan on gaming addiction here are some helpful websites:

www.video-game-addiction.org - This is a great American site that offers advice to both parents and teenagers on the condition. It offers an explanation of the addiction, describes the symptoms in both adults and teenagers, the different consequences of the condition and possible treatments.

www.videogameaddiction.co.uk - Although this is a commercial site (part of ADT Healthcare) it contains a lot of detailed information that is clearly explained. There is also additional information on Internet Addiction.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wlmj0 - This BBC Panorama site contains some excellent short videos that would be really useful to break up the pace of a lesson and clearly show how computer games affect some people.

www.newvision.co.ug/news - This article describes the deceptive behaviour that some computer game addicts can exhibit. It describes how the condition impacted on children, and one child in particular, in a village in America. It is interesting as it describes the different perceptions of both parents and a primary school teacher.

If you would like to share your teaching tips on tackling this with your students, please add your comments below. Alternatively, visit our lesson plans and assembly plans page for ready-to-use teaching resources supporting this topic.

Written by Steve Gresty on July 18, 2013 10:16

Sexting isn't just harmless fun

Last year, NSPCC reports found that the rate at which teenagers are being pressured to text and email sexually explicit pictures of themselves has accelerated in the last few years. These demands were also found to have come from peers rather than from adults or strangers.

A survey carried out by the US organisation, The National Campaign, found that:
• 20% of teenagers have sent nude or semi-nude pictures/videos of themselves.
• 39% of teenagers have sent sexually suggestive messages.
Teenagers send the majority of these sexts to boyfriends, girlfriends or other people they knew. However, 15% of teenagers who have sent nude/semi-nude images of themselves say they have done so to someone they only knew online.

Prior research has shown that many teenagers have sent sexual texts, emails, images and videos. However many have not learnt what the risks are, and what the law says about sexting.

When BBC Reporters asked Tarporley High School Students for their views on sexting, 15-year-old Lizzie said: ‘I don't think the dangers of sexting are clear enough to young people. I think lots of young people think it's just for fun and there's a really dangerous side to it.’

Many teenagers and adults may think sexting can be exciting and fun, but there are many possible consequences, such as sending the sexual messages/images to the wrong person, the person you sent them to may share them, or the images/messages may accidentally be discovered by others if phones were lost. Another key issue regarding teens and children sending sexts is that youngsters can be vulnerable to be pornography charges because, when the sender and/or receiver is underage it is considered child pornography, making it illegal.

Sexting cases are often in the news, including the recent case of three school students who recorded mobile phone videos of drunken sex acts with fellow teens; authorities said they then shared them among themselves. These teenagers face up to 20 years in prison with the charge of child pornography.

It’s vital that children and teenagers are taught about the dangers and consequences surrounding sexting in school and at home. They may see it as fun, but if any of their images/messages are found not only is it likely they will be embarrassed, but they could also face serious charges.

If you would like to share your teaching tips on tackling this with your students, please add your comments below.

Written by Safeguarding Essentials on July 05, 2013 13:57


Join Safeguarding Essentials

  • Protect your pupils
  • Support your teachers
  • Deliver outstanding practice

Recent Stories
Story Tags
addiction anti_bullying_alliance anti-radicalisation apps ask.fm assembly avatars awards awareness bett Breck_Foundation bug bullying BYOD calendar cber_bullying censorship ceop chatfoss checklist child child_exploitation childline childnet child_protection childwise christmas ClassDojo classroom competition cookies CPD creepshot CSE curriculum cyberbullying cyber_bullying cyber_crime cybersmile_foundation cybersurvey data_protection DCMS Demos development devices DfE digital_citizenship digital_footprint digital_forensics digital_leaders digital_literacy digital_native digital_reputation digital_wellbeing eCadets education e-learning emoticon e-safe esafety e-safety e-safety, e-safety_support #esscomp #esstips ethics events exa exploitation extreemism extremism extremism, facebook fake_news fantastict fapchat FAPZ film filtering freemium friendly_wifi gaming GDPR #GetSafeOnline glossary GoBubble gogadgetfree google governor grooming #GSODay2016 guidance hacker hacking icon information innovation inspection instagram instragram internet internet_matters internet_of_things internet_safety into_film ipad iphone ipod irights IWF #KeepMeSafe language leetspeak lesson like linkedin live_streaming malware media mental_health mobile monitor monitoring naace national_safeguarding_month navigation neknominate netiquette network news NHCAW nomophobia nspcc NWG ofcom offline ofsted omegle online online_safety oracle parents phishing phone Point2Protect policy pornography power_for_good pressure PREVENT primary privacy professional_development protection PSHE #pupilvoiceweek ratting rdi reporting research risk robots safeguarding safeguarding, safer_internet_day safety SCD2015 #SCD2016 school sdfsdf security self-harm selfie sexting sextortion ShareAware sid SID SID2016 SID2017 SID2018 smartphone snapchat snappening social_media social_media, social_networking staff staff_training #standuptobullying statutory_guidance Stop_CSE stop_cyberbullying_day stress students survey swgfl SWGfL tablet teach teachers technology texting tootoot training TrainingToolz troll trolling twitter UKCCIS uk_safer_internet_centre UK_youth unplug2015 video virus webinar website we_protect what_is_e-safety wifi wi-fi windows wizard working_together yik_yak young_people youthworks youtube YPSI yubo
Archive