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New Generation of British Youth Being Raised Online
By: MarkJ - 26 March, 2008 (8:38 AM)

New research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has revealed that young people aged between 13 and 18 are effectively being "raised online", spending over 20 hours a week using sites such as Bebo, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.

The study found that young people are "constantly connected", staying up to the early hours. But a lack of parental knowledge and understanding means that few have any idea about what their children are doing online. The report makes the following suggestions:

  • Ofcom should produce an annual report on the effectiveness of initiatives aimed at tackling harmful internet content. It should make recommendations to Government where gaps exist (for example, in tackling violent user generated content online) and where industry should be taking further action. If industry does not make progress in this area, the Government should consider extending Ofcomís remit to cover internet content.

  • Sites popular with young people, for example MySpace, Bebo and YouTube, should develop cross-industry guidelines setting out the limits of what young people can expect and how young people are expected to behave in return. Ofcom should approve this and ensure sites are enforcing these guidelines.

  • Such sites should commit to existing schemes to keep young people safe online for instance by becoming funding members of the Internet Watch Foundation.

  • The Department for Children Schools and Families (DCFS) should be given overall control for media literacy. Information and support for parents should be provided through the extended schools programme and available through initiatives such as Sure Start; so that parents can make sure their children get the best out of the internet without being exposed to unnecessary risks.

This new research comes ahead of the final report of the Byron Review of children and new technology, set up by Gordon Brown in 2007 and headed by Dr Tanya Byron.


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