FK&Y spoke this week at the Policy UK Forum conference about the way in which children and young people want support to use the internet responsibly and the way in which families feel digital is taking over family communication. Drawing on our research for the IKEA Play Report which interviewed nearly 30,000 parents, children and young people in 12 countries, Heidi Hasbrouck, lead ethnographer at FK&Y, illustrated that two in five parents and young people in the UK would like to talk face to face as a family more. The Play Report shows that 74% of parents and 38% of children in the UK think ‘there should be times at home when we don’t use our mobile devices’. It also demonstrated the amount of time families use their mobile devices instead of face to face communication. 24% of UK parents, 31% of 13-18 year olds and 13% of 7-12 year olds agree ‘Sometimes I only talk to my family at home through text messaging or social media’.
FK&Y’s research for Techknowledge for Schools meanwhile interviewed 7,443 students in secondary and primary schools last year and found that children and young people would like some form of regulation about their use of devices. Heidi explained that four out of ten (40%) secondary school-aged pupils and a third (34%) of primary school-aged pupils admit to sometimes feeling addicted to the internet. Over-frequent use, socialising, watching videos and gaming are the main reasons for feelings of addiction that emerge from analysis of the open-ended questions for both primary and secondary school-aged pupils. The research findings clearly suggest that internet-enabled devices continue to play a significant role in children’s lives. With half (50%) of primary and seven out of ten (70%) secondary school-aged pupils taking an internet enabled device to bed with them, it is clear that pupils’ use of such devices is central to everyday life. The young people involved in the research gave numerous suggestions for keeping safe online, and resources for young people by young people can be found here.
The conference examined how the well-being of children is impacted by an increasingly 24/7 commercial society. The conference chair was Reg Bailey CBE, Independent Reviewer of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood for the UK Government and author of the Bye Buy Childhood Impact Report, assessing the progress made since his 2010 report “Letting Children be Children”. Also speaking was FK&Y’s Pedagogy Advisor, Professor David Buckingham, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University and author of “The Impact of the Commercial World on Children’s Well-being”.