Does your child have an iPhone? According to a study commissioned by Westcoastcloud, one out of ten UK children under the age of ten have an iPhone and one in twenty have their very own iPad. Also, apparently parents have pretty lax rules about using them too.
The under-10s in the survey (conducted among 2,000 parents of children aged 10 and under) were likely to be able to make calls unassisted, competently text (20 percent), draft and send an e-mail (five percent) and go online without assistance (10 percent). A quarter of the kids had their own e-mail account.
The study also points out that 68 percent of parents have purchased the devices to keep dibs on their children, and 50 percent of parents have no form of parental control installed on their child’s Internet-connected devices. Frankly I’m pretty surprised that 50 percent of parents do have some form of parental control on their devices.
For those 50 percent of parents who do not have parental controls installed, we should point out that Apple has built parental controls into their iOS device lineup, and they’re fairly easy to setup (check out this link for more info).
We should probably reiterate that the study only petitioned 2,000 parents, and that it’s hardly an accurate representation of the larger market; however, in my opinion it’s enough to start asking some pretty serious questions.
For instance, should a ten year old child have unmoderated access to the Internet? I was 12, maybe 13, when Internet found its way into my childhood home (around 1995). It was largely unmonitored, and I didn’t get into too much trouble. Sure, I AltaVista’d (Google wasn’t around yet) “how to kill a man,” I AltaVista’d “boobies,” but I’d argue that I probably would have done the same kinds of things without the Internet. Instead, I would have gone down to the library and looked up military books and National Geographic magazines, rather than turning to the all mighty search engine. Actually, now that I think about it, I did those things in my childhood too. Don’t pretend for a second that you didn’t either.
I don’t have children yet, so I can’t really talk about this from that perspective, but as someone who pretty much came of age with the Internet, I’d like to think I turned out okay. Internet filters didn’t work for my generation, and I’m pretty sure they won’t work for this one, or the next one either.
Kids will find a way around them. Parents will install them, and kids will find genius ways to circumvent them. It’s an arms race, and the kids always end up winning.