Dr Jacqui Taylor, Associate Professor of BU’s Psychology Research Centre recently co-ordinated two workshops aimed at parents and child practitioners on the Impact of Technology on Children, looking at the ways in which children use technology and access the internet, alongside colleagues from Winton Primary School, Bournemouth Borough Council, Barnardo’s and Dorset Police.
The first workshop was aimed at parents and included presentations about current research findings, technical advice, police guidance on child protection and film ratings guidance. The workshop also encouraged lively debate about how parents can use research findings to ensure that their children have a healthy relationship with technology.
The second workshop invited practitioners (including teachers) to consider research around the psychological impacts of social networking and video games, age ratings, child protection and technological innovation. Again, this promoted considerable discussion on how to develop good practice at a speed that keeps pace with changing technology.
One attendee gave us their inside take on how our workshops helped them gain tools to use in introducing and monitoring their children’s use of the internet:
“Over 40 people crowded into a classroom at Winton Primary School to hear academics and practitioners discuss the physical and behavioural impacts that technology can have on our growing children. The morning brought together key research and practical advice to parents and those working with children.
The key message is that, as with all tools, they can be used for good. But, it is up to the responsible adults around them to ensure that children interact with technology appropriately for their age and stage of physical development.
Part of this is applying the boundaries that we have in real life to this virtual one. Practical tips included using parental controls such as DNS controls, where the internet goes through an external filter (so covering all devices used on home wireless) and setting up privacy settings on devices.
The session also included video clips useful for starting a conversation with a teen or pre-teen including Think before you post. Plentiful resources are available from The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and from providers themselves.”
This was an insightful and valuable session which was well balanced in its views and vital to all involved with the care of children. As a parent, I’m going to take time to follow these links and try to do my ‘job’ a little bit better.