Should There Be An Internet Age Limit?

Should There Be An Internet Age LimitOfcom recently released their Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015. In which, they showed study research and results focusing on the younger users of the Internet.

The study aims to measure the levels of understanding younger users have about how the Internet works, in terms of advertising and marketing.

Conducting a critical look into the awareness of research engines, Ofcom used a focus group of users between the ages of 12-15 years.

In order to test the user’s Internet advertising knowledge, the focus group were shown the results from searching ‘trainers’ into a search engine, and given multiple answers to what they believed the results suggested. These included the following:

  • “I think that if they have been listed by the search engine the information on the website must be truthful.
  • “I think that some of the websites in the list will show truthful information and some will show untruthful information.”
  • “I don’t really think about whether or not they have truthful information, I just use the sites I like the look of.

internet age limit report

This is a screenshot from the Ofcom official report.

After long analysis, the results showed that only half of the focus group were correct in their responses. This means the other half of the group absorbed the information, without a thought as to what the motive behind it might be.

Ofcom aren’t alone in their research, in fact young users on the web are a common topic of interest of late, with the rising tides in access to the internet.

Netmums also joined in on the mission to shed light on the millennial generation. They ran a study “asking parents and children about the internet and how they used it, with the aim of exploring just how safe our children are growing up in The Digital Age.”

Their results showed numbers of children, as young as 7 years-old, being vulnerable to videos of animal abuse, pornography, self harming, child abuse and even suicide.

This goes with a high level of unawareness from parents/guardians. So unaware in fact they misjudged how often their children use the internet by 50%. With parents under the illusion that their children use the internet for less than an hour a day, the focus group answers were closer to 2 hours and over.

Growing up in ‘The Digital Age’ it is increasingly difficult to predict what the affects of this exposure will have on children in their later lives.

What can be done to prevent this from becoming a trend?

Companies such as Technology Will Save Us and Apps For Good have unique learning programmes that could counteract this negative trend.

These programmes challenge traditional learning with the idea to “build a global generation” using modern day skills and technological knowledge. Moulding future generations in this way can lead to the decrease in miss use of the internet, and begin the process of crafting next generation digital creators.

What this type of learning also claims to do is motivate younger people in using the internet and technology to get inspired and excite the imagination of young people, steering away from the negative aspects of the web.

Growing up in the Digital Age does have its benefits when it comes to careers too. Digital Futures recruits young minds to create the brightest young digital stars of the future through an innovative apprenticeship programme.

What are your thoughts on bringing more digital into education? Are your surprised by the statistics found in the study? Let us know and get involved by commenting below.