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Talking about the effects of the internet on children

By Megan Rose

Today our CEO, Vicki Shotbolt, pictured above, was invited to speak at the Westminster Education Forum’s Growing Up Digital seminar.

The forum, which engages with key policy and stakeholders on education policy, held the event to discuss the ways children are currently effected by the internet and digital media.

It involved input from key figures in education, health and technology such as the Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, and the Director of Policy at BSkyB, Adam Kinsley.

Beginning the seminar, the Chief Education Adviser to the Times Education Supplement, the Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth, pointed out that the internet is ‘a very different world for parents,’ and that devising new rules to manage it in their children’s lives has proved difficult. He said that coming together to talk about how the online world effects modern childhood will hopefully help parents meet this challenge.

Vicki’s speech examined the vital role parents have in supporting their children’s evolving relationship with technology. While she noted that parents are becoming more confident in talking to their children about the internet, it is ‘the quality of those conversations’ that remain an issue. She argued that having informed, open and proactive discussions is paramount in ensuring children are empowered to manage their online lives effectively.

Overall, the seminar was engaging, informative and, refreshingly, included the thoughts and experiences of a real teenager’s interaction with the internet.

Jaike Mogg-Wright discussed the effect social media has had on him and his peers. His speech opened up further discussion on the potential ways young people can better interact with digital media in the future, as well as acknowledging the multiple benefits it has brought to his and other young people's lives.