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Weekly briefing: 9-16 November 2018

Education secretary emphasises importance of parents controlling their own screen time

Education secretary Damian Hinds has advised parents to, in addition to managing their children’s screen time, remember to control their own and prioritise “one-on-one time without gadgets”, according to The Guardian. The secretary made the statement following statistics which showed that 28 per cent of pupils did not develop the necessary communication or reading skills during their reception year to progress further.

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Children's Commissioner calls on schools to develop consistent policy on phones

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has urged schools to develop a consistent policy on the use of smartphones as currently rules are very different from school to school, according to the BBC. According to research, children’s smartphone usage surges in the transition from primary to secondary school which causes an “avalanche of pressure” and Longfield said that a “bold approach” from schools could help support families.

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Berners-Lee encourages social media users to befriend people they don't know to prevent echo chambers

World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said that social media sites should “stretch” their users to reach out to people they don’t know to avoid echo chambers, according to The Telegraph. Sir Tim said that with the way social media sites work today, it is easy for a person’s profile to become “a solid knot of people who know each other” that does not promote diversity of ideas.

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Duke of Cambridge announces new BBC digital wellbeing app

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge unveiled BBC’s new ‘Own It’ app on Thursday which aims ensure children’s safety while using social media and help them create healthy online habits and behaviour. The app is set to launch in early 2019 and will feature specially commissioned content from the BBC to help parents and young people have healthy conversations about their digital lives.

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