At 4am the day after my Gmail account was hacked over a month ago now, I penned a blog, Google’s Very Dark Cloud (see below if you didn’t get a chance to read it before I binned it). Sleep was elusive and there was little else to do while I waited for two hours to run my anti-virus programme before reactivating my account. Words flowed easily. Continue reading
Yesterday afternoon as I am loitering in the playground a friend tells me she has read my blog ‘Our Monsters on Moshi’ – . “Wow really good,” she says. “It even prompted me to ask [daughter’s name] if she ever talks to people she doesn’t know online. Of course she looked at me and said ‘No Mum’ and that was the end of the conversation.” Continue reading
Last night my six-year-old son signs in to MoshiMonsters, the popular online children’s game, which now has over 50 million users worldwide. He is very excited because he got a monthly membership for Christmas so he can now do more with his pet Monster. So while I get dinner started he clicks through to his friends’ tree, the space where children post messages to each other, and lets out a shriek of delight. A pink monster in America called KittyKat wants to be his ‘friend’. “I’m going to send her a message,” he yells and excitedly begins typing. Continue reading
When we were growing up our parents told us that sharing was something good children did. Children who didn’t share were spoilt and would end up with no friends. Today, the more you share the more friends you are likely to have — on Facebook that is. Continue reading
After 13 interviews in a row with the BBC’s regional radio stations yesterday about my book Is Your Child Safe Online?, friends and family have been ringing to ask if they can listen again. Having played back the five that were live, and feeling very much like my own worst enemy, I’m not sure they should listen to any but in the interests of publicity here goes. Continue reading
After six months of fascinating research my book Is Your Child Safe Online: a Parent’s Guide to the internet, Facebook, Mobile Phones and other New Media is finally in production. In the course of research I have interviewed a wide cross section of people from child psychologists to computer scientists, teachers, academics, criminologists, parents, children and experts from the industry. It is due out in October and will be published by White Ladder.
For parents over, give-or-take, the age of the 35 the ease and familiarity with which children use technology today is at best perplexing and at worst terrifying. Now, according to the editorial in the latest issue of Psychologies magazine, there is some evidence to suggest that computers may cause psychological problems in later life. The magazine cites a study by Bristol University’s Angie Page (more on this here) which finds that children spending over two hours a day at a computer screen have a 60 per cent higher risk of psychological problems. So, for those of us whose childhood memories are of wind-in-the-hair freedom, Ladybird books and spot of benign telly when the nights drew this is something of a relief. The computer after all, must be to blame for poor literacy skills, increases in violence and the rise in teenage pregnancies – the list goes on. It is certainly a view the Daily Mail would have us believe. Continue reading