Digital Childhood with KidsandMedia


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At last some common-sense guidance for parents! Robert & Carole Hart-Fletcher tell how the KidsandMedia charity helps families, achieve a safer and more fulfilling media life.

The Kids and Media regional websites are updated several times weekly with news, reviews, useful hints and tips and suggestions for conversation topics for parents and children.

Kids and Media represents parental views to government and media industries and has good dialogue with many of the big media players. This dialogue often leads to changes by the media operators.

The Kids and Media advisers support parents with advice and ideas that are related to children and young people’s media use.

The organisation has linked youth and adult games reviewers together. They prepare game reviews in cooperation with Barnevakten in Norway. Each year testing hundreds of PC and console games, films and TV shows, web and mobile applications and prepare reviews of the most current titles. The best products are awarded a Kids and Media recommendation mark.

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Digital Childhood with KidsandMedia

  1. 1. Digital Childhood Your guide to childrens digital life Useful tips and tools for a safer media life. No. 1, Volume 1, January 2011, UK & Eire
  2. 2. The family that plays together At 11am on June 2nd CONTENTS 1953, we joined 20 03 WE ARE KIDS AND MEDIA million Britons who 04 ORDER A SEMINAR crowded round their 05 YOUR OPINION HAS VALUE neighbours’ black and 06 PARENTS’ DIALOGUEwhite television sets with their tiny 08 ADVICE ON INTERNET14-inch screens, to watch Queen 16 ADVICE ON MOBILE PHONESElizabeth II’s coronation. It was thestart of the television age. 20 ADVICE ON GAMES 28 ADVICE ON TV AND FILMSBack then “media” meant three radio channels, one TVchannel, a cinema in every big town and a few newspapers and 34 FAMILY CONVERSATIONSmagazines. Telephones lived in red boxes at the corner of thebusiest streets and playing games meant monopoly or chess 38 USEFUL LINKSplayed on a piece of c ardboard with the family gathered aroundthe dinner table. protecting them from the worst? The answer is to learn withToday “media” means multiple at-screen television sets in our children, listen to them, watch with them, surf with themalmost every house, 1000 digital TV channels and hundreds of and play with them. Keep up with what’s out there and helpradio stations from all over the world, TV shows and lms you them choose the good stu and avoid the bad and be bravecan watch any time you like and totally immersive multimedia enough to set you can play on the Internet with thousands ofstrangers around the world. Sounds easy when you say it quickly, but it’s not, and that’s why we’re so keen to support Kids and Media, which is here toThe telephone on the street corner has evolved into a fantastic help us help our kids, with its international network of parents,pocket computer carried by every adult and 12 year old kid, its media content reviews, discussion forums and expert advice.with built in phone, video calling to anywhere in the world forfree, live TV, pocket cinema, international radio, thousands of We hope you nd this guide helpful. It has been distilled frommusic tracks, hundreds of books, a camera that doesn’t need the practical experience of kids and parents and enlightened by lm, a video camera, online newspapers and magazines, a research and advice from experts. We hope also that you willworldwide multimedia library, a navigation system to direct join the Kids and Media International Network and contribute toyou wherever you want to go, tens of thousands of shops that our community of parents and professionals.can instantly take your money and millions of porn sites! Carole and Robert Hart-Fletcher Directors, Kids and Media UK and Kids and Media International NetworkHow do we as parents and grandparents help our kids to get the best from this amazing explosion of media, while
  3. 3. We are Your guide to childrens digital life OUR ORGANISATIONOUR VISION:Safe and happy media users SHALL BE : Useful, visible and credible The Kids and Media regional web- sites are updated several timesOUR WORKING BASE: weekly with news, reviews, usefulChildren in focus hints and tips and suggestions for conversation topics for parents and children. Guide til det digitale livOUR PRIORITIES; Kids and Media represents parentalEngagement and change views and has good dialogue with many of the big media players. This dialogue often leads to large or small changes by the media opera-OUR TARGET GROUPS: tors. The Kids and Media advisersParents in focus support parents with advice and ideas that are related to children and young people’s media use. The organisation has linked youth and adult games reviewers toge- ther. They prepare game reviews in cooperation with Barnevakten in Norway. Each year Barnevakten and Kids and Media test hundreds of PC and console games, lm and TV shows and prepare reviews of the most current titles. The best products are awarded a Kids and Media recommendation mark. Kids and Media is organised as an association and is funded mainly through membership.
  4. 4. Order a seminarKids and Media o ers exciting and GAME MEDIA: INTERNET MEDIA:useful talks on children, young PC and console games play a big part in Children and adolescents spend increas-people and media. many children and young people’s every- day lives. What do they like to play and ingly more time on the Internet. What opportunities and challenges are there what do they learn from playing? What and how can children be safe and aware do you do when the game becomes an all- users? consuming interest?Kids and Media has built a network of lecturers. Weo er theme evenings and lectures wherever weoperate around the world. We want to provide balancedinformation about children and young people’s everyday media use and combine it with advice on how weas parents and adults can guide our children. Themedevenings give parents opportunities to exchange viewsand experiences through questions and conversation.Kids and Media also o ers lectures to colleges, MOBILE MEDIA: DIGITAL BULLYING:universities, media conferences, police, educators, The mobile phone has become a multi- Digital bullying is the new face ofteachers and others who have contact with children and bullying. How does bullying occur on the media machine with Internet access,adolescents. video camera, digital camera, TV moni- Internet and through mobile phones? tor, games and music. How do we give What can parents do to prevent children children good mobile habits? from being bullied or even bully? To order seminars or for further information, write to:
  5. 5. Your opinion has value!Kids and Media encourages parents to give positive and negative feedback tobroadcasters, game producers, and web and mobile providers. Providers want tokeep in touch with their customers, and Kids and Media helps provide them witha ow of parental opinion. We have found that editors greatly appreciate realisticfeedback. By emphasising good quality and giving constructively critical feedback, we can help to encourage more good quality content. Objective and speci c reviews of media content are most appreciated Participate and a precise identi cation of the TV program (when was it broadcast, what channel), lm, game, website or other media content really helps. actively in media It’s a good idea to ask questions - it increases the chance of getting a response. Please send a copy of your question to Please also feel free to contact Kids and Media about matters that you think we need to address.
  6. 6. InternetParents Dialogue Question: What is positive about the Internet? Dilemma: Your child wants to meet someone who he/she has chatted with on the Internet. What do you do? Problem: Your child has seen hard porn pictures or violence on the Internet. What do you do? Question: How can parents help their children develop a healthy critical sense? Claim: ”My child wants some privacy - even on the Internet, and I accept that.” What do you think? Claim: ”It’s okay that my child uses open chat channels to make new friends and meet other children.” What do you think? Problem: Someone has copied a photo of your child from an Internet pro le and used it in a di erent context. What do you do? Here you will nd discussion Background: One of your child’s questions on current issues. friends has published a very revealing photo of herself online. There are no simple answers. What do you do? Some of the issues are about Problem: Your child wants a PC with Internet access and a web children’s use of digital media, camera in her room. What do you and here it can be very useful do? Question: What do you think it is to exchange experiences with important to talk with children other parents. Questions can about when it comes to safe Internet use? also be used during parent Question: How much time do meetings in school and in you think is OK for your child other institutions. to spend on TV, gaming and Internet in a week?
  7. 7. Mobile phone Digital BullyingQuestion: What agreementsdo you think are good to PC and console games TV & Films Problem: Your child hashave between parents and received threats on SMS. Whatchildren regarding use of do you do? Dilemma: Your child wouldmobile phones? Question: How can parents help Problem: You discover that rather play video games than to create good TV experiencesDilemma: Your child has do other things with friends. your child is bullying others for their children?given his mobile number to What do you do? via mobile phone and Internet.someone he has chatted with What do you do?on the Internet. What do you Dilemma: Your child plays Dilemma: Your child has seendo? hard violent games with a a lm rated ’18’ with a friend. Claim: ”Parents have the neighbour’s child. What do What do you do? responsibility for what isQuestion: What should you do? written on their children’sparents consider when Question: How much time pro les on the Internet.” Whatchoosing a mobile phone Claim: ”Violence in games should children spend on TV, do you think? a ects more than violence lms and Internet in a week?and subscription for their in lms, because the child Problem: Your child has beenchildren? Claim: ”It is important to lmed with a mobile phone in actively participates through respect the age ratings onQuestion: Should parents games media.” What do you the changing room, and the lms.” What do you think?check the contents of think? lm is posted on the Internet.children’s mobile phones? Claim: ”Children inherit their What do you do? Claim: ”I know all the video parents’ viewing habits.”Claim: ”The mobile phone is an games my child plays”. Do Claim: ”Children are no harder What do you think?important social platform for you? on each other on mobilechildren”. What do you think? Claim: ”Children’s lm and TV phones and the Internet than Claim: ”Children can learn they are in the schoolyard.” heroes are more violent nowProblem: When is it OK for much from playing computer than in the past.” What do you What do you think?children to get their own games.” What do you think? think?mobile phone? Claim: ”Digital bullying of Claim: ”Video games restrictProblem: Who should pay Dilemma: Your child would like children is di cult for adults children’s imagination.” What to have a TV in his/her room. to detect.” What do you think?for the child’s use of mobile do you think? What do you do?phones? Claim: ”SMS threats are as Claim: ”Age ratings onProblem: You have a Claim: ”Exposure to violence serious as common threats.” computer games should be through the media increases What do you think?prepaid contract with respected.” What do you children’s tolerance ofa telecommunications think? Claim: ”Many children do not violence in real life.” What docompany and discover dare talk to their parentsthat they have repeatedly Claim: ”It is better that children you think? about upsetting or disgusting play video games than onlinecharged for an amount that Claim: ”It is more important to experiences online.” What do games.” What do you think?you do not know about. What focus on the content children you think?do you do? Claim: ”Parents should watch see than on how long they Claim: ”Digital communication TV and play video games with spend watching TV.” What doProblem: Your child lacks body language, which their children.” What do you you think?communicates with friends means that children can be think?via mobile phone late into the Claim: ”A premature exposure harder on each other in theevening. What do you do? Claim: ”The games industry to lms for adults can digital space than when has become better at making degrade children’s values communicating face to face”.Question: How can children good child and family games.” and humanity.” What do you What do you think?use mobile phones in a What do you think? think?positive way? The questions are available on
  8. 8. Children and the Internet The Internet is a fantastic invention, and for children growing up today, the Internet is used every day as a matter of course. At the same time, children need adult guidance, even when they are online. Parents have a unique opportunity to encourage good attitudes and give children a safe environment for their Internet use. Young people create contentInternet Children and young people’s main activities on the Internet are: play games, and to upload photos and videos. Children are also play, communication, homework and downloading programs using social networking to communicate with people who live and les. They are active, innovative and creative users of on the other side of the globe, and with family and friends they media. They explore, create new content and give the outside already know. world frank responses. Many young people have good ICT skills, but many need to learn and practice safe and reasonable It is important that children understand that many of the behaviour in ICT use. sites they use can be viewed by anyone with access to the Internet and that the information and photos that they publish A presence and communication on the Internet is essential of themselves or others, may remain on the Web forever. in many children and young people’s everyday lives. Parents Unfortunately, the information that young people place on the have a unique opportunity to encourage good attitudes in their Internet can also make them vulnerable to digital bullying, fraud children, to help children and young people to set limits for attempts, hacking, and even grooming and physical attacks. themselves and to limit what they will accept from others. Make your own rules for Internet use Social Networking Once your child begins to use the Internet on her own, it’s a It is very encouraging to see how children and young people good idea to agree on some rules for Internet use, adapted to the develop a shared culture on the Internet, and social network child’s age and needs. You might nd the Family Online Safety activities may lead to new friendships, better quality of Contract a good place to start. Download it from the Parents communication and writing skills. Social networks are very section of the Family Online Safety Institute website: popular among children and teenagers. They use websites that target children like Habbo Hotel or Disney’s Club Penguin, but they also use adult sites (often illegally) such as YouTube, It is important that you venture on to the Internet with your MySpace or Facebook, as well as blog services and Twitter. children and show them which sites are safe to use. Make Children are using these sites to blog, chat, share information, Internet use part of family life from the start.
  9. 9. Internet
  10. 10. Parenting tips for safe Internet use Personal information and images Rules Increase your child’s awareness about how much information Dare to put limits on your children’s use of and access to the he or she can reveal and adapt your advice to the child’s age and Internet. If you want to know what your children are doing what sites he or she is active on. Teach the child that what we online, it’s better to ask them. Let them show you the sites they say on the Internet is subject to the same limits on free speech have visited using the browser History. Ask your children to as in any other public place. Advise your child that there are show you their MSN conversations in the MSN log folder. laws that de ne the limits of our freedom to speak and behave in real life and online. You might also consider investing in software that monitors Web use and blocks sites which you think are harmful. Parents have some rights in deciding which photos a child may publish on the Internet. If a child wants to upload photos Deliberate placement of family and friends, he or she must have the consent of the Place the computer in a family room, where practicable. ThisInternet photographed or his or her parents. makes it easier for parents to be alert, watch and advise their children. It also in uences the children to use the computer When it comes to the child’s insight into which photographs wisely. Be very clear about agreed limits if children and and text it is good to publish on the Internet by themselves, it teenagers have a PC and webcam in their own rooms. is better to encourage dialogue rather than impose prohibition. A 14 year old can discover for herself how easily her private Make sure to maintain the dialogue photos can be found on Google. That will help her decide what is New games and websites appear every day and children safe to publish and where. communicate lightning fast, sending the new links to each other. It is very di cult for parents to keep on track. So it is Critical thinking important to maintain the dialogue with your children. Ask Teach children that they must be critical of the information them what websites interest them right now, and what games they nd on the Internet. Not all sites are what they pretend to they are playing with friends. be and everything that exists on the Internet is not necessarily healthy or true. Show your interest and discuss the information Unknown online friends that children nd. Insist that, without your permission, your children may not meet anyone, who they have only communicated with on Attitudes the Internet. If a meeting is arranged, then the child should Tell your children that the same rules on positive and sensible be accompanied by a parent, an adult or at least a friend. behaviour, which we accept in real life, also apply online. Help Experience shows that such meetings are common and that children to carefully consider which sites they choose to spend children often take a friend. It is for you to judge who is a safe their time on. Discuss with your children what you both think companion for your child. about pages with bad language or adult content, and be clear about your own position as an adult.
  11. 11. Take control of expenditure Teach your child about digital bullyingMobile and landline phones can work like a credit cards, Bullying is characterised by persistent humiliating orallowing your child to buy everything from ringtones to o ensive behaviour. Tell your children about how people Internetmemberships, virtual furniture and costumes in online can be bullied on mobile phones and the Internet. Explaingames. It can be expensive to play games in cyberspace that they should tell you or another trusted adult if they orand we recommend that you make concrete agreements their friends are being bullied. Remind them that bullyingwith children and teenagers about limiting spending on the is unacceptable and can be illegal, and that the law alsoInternet. applies to the Internet and mobiles.Technical safety Invite your child to talk with youMake sure your computer has a rewall and antivirus When you ask your children what they are doing at schoolprogram, and teach yourself as much as possible about or at the sports club, ask also what they are doing on theInternet security. Feel free to use software for family Internet. Start positive and ask what fun they are havingsecurity to protect your family. There are also lters that online, what are their favourite sites, what are theyblock access to sites with certain words and images on learning, what’s new? Invite your child to talk with you if hetheir pages. Many of these are innefective, so select them or she experiences something upsetting or frightening oncarefully. We recommend the Internet or comes across adult sites.which discretely monitors the sites children visit andautomatically blocks pornographic and other inappropriate Talk to other parentssites. It also monitors emails, Internet chat and social It can be a good idea to talk with other parents and discussnetwork use, and alerts you to any unsuitable content, sex their attitudes and rules about their children’s Internettalk or potential grooming. activities. That way you can esh out what is important to you. Where you want to set limits, and what dialogue youBut remember that the most e ective lter is between your want with your child. It can also stop a child playing onechilden’s ears! parent o against another; “Sammy’s Mum lets him play Evil Vice Cops!”.
  12. 12. Digital bullying Bullying on the Internet and on mobile phones is not about digital technology, but about human attitudes. Bullying on the Internet may include spreading rumours, creating hate sites about someone, uploading photos without consent or harassing or threatening others. Parents, schools and associations have an important common task of creating awareness and helping children become safe users. Children and teenagers can be taught that it’s up toInternet them to take responsibility to ensure the Internet is a great place to be for everyone. Parents’ communication with their children about their experience and behaviour on the Internet, is crucial in the ght against digital bullying. Children and adults must constantly focus on two questions: – What kind of digital world do you want? – What kind of digital world are you creating? If your child is bullied or bullies others: cases. the incident.
  13. 13. Existing laws that one should knowEach region has it’s own laws, of course, and you need to understandthe speci c laws operating in your own country, but all countries havesome laws that relate to criminal behaviour, copyright and personaldata protection, and these usually apply to the Internet as well as toother media. As far as your children are able to understand, it is worthdiscussing the legal limits of behaviour online. InternetCriminal LawWe could violate the penal code when there is talk of violence music and games. It is worthwhile to discuss with yourand rape threats, or when there is sexual assault, defamation, children, as far as they are able to understand, how copyrightviolation of privacy, sexual abuse of children and violations of works to protect the user and the creator.the laws on privacy of correspondence. The police will assesswhether there are grounds for a criminal case. Personal Data Personal Data laws determine what rights a citizen has inGrooming is a special kind of digital violation. It constitues relation to other indivduals, authorities, private companiescontact between an adult and a minor where the adult and other bodies using and disseminating their privateestablishes trust over time, with the intention to sexually information, such as name, address, email, telephone number,violate the child. Grooming can take weeks, months or years, photograph, or their preferences and interests.and can be hard to detect, but at the point where the adult triesto arrange to physically meet the child, the law locks in. Sites may make such information available to third party advertisers without the user’s knowledge. Children mightCopyright publish an image of another child without permission, orCopyright law is about the rights of the creator or producer of download music from illegal le-sharing sites. You coulda product, including digital products – text. images, videos, discuss with your child about their own personal informationanimations, music, sounds, applications etc. It may be di cult and make them aware of how it can travel around the Internetto nd out which content you can download and use for free at lightning speed and end up in the wrong hands, and perhapsand how you can use it (e.g. for personal but non-commercial discuss how it would feel if their own photos or stories wereuse). Children and teenagers have easy access to download stolen by others and published for the thief’s gain.
  14. 14. More useful advice on Internet Source criticism – is it true? It is easy to produce information and publish it on the Internet, penalties. You also run the risk that your computer is attacked by and to create websites that look professional. On the Internet viruses, spyware and other unwanted programs which could be there is no overall quality assessment. Website authors write the downloaded with the game or music le. content they want. It is we as users who must separate the good from the bad and the useful from the useless. Piracy is the same as theft, and it is important to tell children this from the moment they begin, as users of the Internet. Who is behind the information? Search for a name, There are many places online where you can legitimately organisation, company, and other important information about download applications, games, lms and music free or the writer. inexpensively. Assess the possibilities and give children pocketInternet When is the document dated? Is it out of date information? money earmarked for downloads, so they are not tempted to What does the page look like? Assess the layout and design. download illegally. Look at the logo, text, spelling, grammar and language. Presentation strengthens or weakens our faith in the Passwords document’s message. It is important to teach children to create good passwords and Where is home? Check the URL that shows the website’s remind them that they should not share passwords even with geographic origin. their best friends. Many children choose passwords that are personal and easily guessed by friends and strangers, like the In all countries except the United States, the Web server’s name name of their pet. Such passwords are easily abused by others is followed by a nationality code. Websites in the United States who may then tease or seek revenge for something by altering use a code that tells what kind of organisation operates the the content of your child’s site. Children and young people also server. These codes are international and are also used by other nd that others misuse passwords for stealing virtual items they countries: have earned in a game and maybe even paid for. Gov = government Mil = military A strong password is a word that it is di cult to guess because it Edu = educational just looks like a string of unrelated characters. It’s a good idea to Com = commercial rms combine letters, numbers and symbols and to mix uppercase and Org = non-commercial rms lowercase letters. The more di erent types of symbols you use the stronger the password. It should have at least 8 characters Piracy but 14 characters or more is better. To make it memorable, Piracy on the Internet means illegal copying and sharing of you could base in on a random phrase like: “You wont get this” copyrighted material for commercial or private use. This can becomes “y0uWont9eT7h1$”. include downloading music les, games or applications without permission from the copyright owner. See Wikipedia’s page on password strength: If you illegally copy digital les, you risk being ned or other
  15. 15. Webcams a webcam that you do not want the whole world to see.Using webcams can make conversation on the Internet morevivid and direct, but it is important to re ect on its use. Who should your children talk to with the webcam? What should they do if a stranger wants to see them on theIt may be a good idea to place the webcam in a family room webcam, o ers them money for photos or asks to meet themrather than in a child’s bedroom. This makes it easier to keep in real life?track of what children are doing and experiencing. Ensure alsothat the webcam is positioned so that others who are in theroom, are not exposed on the webcam against their will. If your computer has been used for illegal le sharing, there is a technical possibility that others can hack into your computer and activate your webcam without you knowing it. They could,Others may misuse personal photos or video footage, recorded for example, check that you are out of the house prior to awith webcams. One should therefore not do anything in front of burglary. Internet
  16. 16. Children and mobile phones What challenges should parents be aware of when they give their children their rst mobile phone? What should be thought through in advance, and when should children get a mobile phone? Why do children have a mobile phone? Media generally recommends that children should be about 10 The mobile phone is a tool for social contact. It o ers a number years when they get their rst mobile phone. It is important for of opportunities and recreational experiences: games, camera, their security and con dence that young children experienceMobile phone video capability, mp3 player and radio, storing music and photos, a life marked by su cient predictability so that ”call me after sur ng the Internet, email, visiting chat portals and reading school and we’ll arrange to meet” does not replace a clear prior blogs. These are features that many young mobile users want. agreement on where to go. Parents should think about what opportunities and constraints they will o er the child before they choose a phone and Beyond that, Kids and Media believes it is desirable that the child subscription. has attained a certain maturity in relation to safe use, including an understanding of the costs. The mobile phone is now a camera, Kids and Media recommends a computer and Internet device. It has become such a complex and The main reason many parents give their children mobile phones exible tool that parents and other adults need to continuously is to ensure they can keep in contact with their children. Kids and guide children of all ages to use it wisely and considerately.
  17. 17. Advice for parents about mobile phonesTalk to other parents Thresholds and other limitationsTalk to other parents about when they think it’s good for Decide whether you want to exclude access to web sur ng,children to get a mobile phone, and the limits you all want content services like ringtones and wallpapers, and access Mobile phoneassociated with your subscription. to other telecommunications services. You can select the desired restrictions when you register the new subscription.Choice of mobile Alternatively, you can set a monthly limit on how much your Does the mobile phone have photo and video capability? child can use the mobile content services. Please contact your Is it able to go online? operator if you want to restrict an existing subscription or if you How much radiation does the phone emit? want to set a monthly limit.Choice of subscription Be a role modelTry to choose a subscription with a de ned nancial framework Show your children by example your positive and consciousto avoid overuse. The safest is prepaid, but a subscription with a mobile use and talk to them about the joys and challenges xed monthly amount also reduces the risk of high bills. related to mobile phones.Registration by phone Restrict useMake sure that you only buy the services and opportunities that Unless the school permits it, children’s mobile phones shouldyou want included in the subscription. That way you can stop be turned o during school hours, and once they get into bed.content providers selling content that is inappropriate for your Teach children to show caution in use, so the radiation hazard ischild’s age, such as scary, violent or pornographic material. reduced.Protection from unwanted solicitations Invite your child to talk to youMake sure your child’s number is secret and not listed in the Make sure your child knows that you are the rst person to turnphone directory. Check with your telephone company. This can to if he or she is experiencing something unpleasant on theprotect the child from requests from unauthorised users. phone. If you feel the need to check the child’s mobile phone, then talk with your child about it beforehand.
  18. 18. Challenges The mobile phone o ers many positive experiences for children and adolescents, but can also provide some challenges. Bullying via mobile phones that the message comes from. That should end the issue of Children can send or receive unpleasant messages. Harassment, unwanted content services. threats and the distribution of photos and lms via mobile phones may be illegal. Remind your child that the law also Misuse of camera and video applies to the Internet and mobiles. You may want to save Many children and young people will take photos or make lmsMobile phone suspect messages. In serious cases, seek advice from police or of others and forward them or publish them on the Internet school management. without obtaining permission. Publication of photographs is governed by privacy laws. Photos and videos generally may not Ask you mobile supplier if they o er customers a bully lter be reproduced or publicly displayed without permission from that can block unwanted messages. the photographed. Overuse Concentration and rest The mobile phone acts as a potential credit card for children and It may be tempting to spend time on the mobile phone during young people, and many services that cost money are just a school hours or after bedtime. The phone should be o during keystroke away from the young users. these periods, so that children can have adequate rest and achieve su cient concentration. Sur ng on the Internet and downloads of music and photos, ringtones and other mobile content services can Mobile Radiation incur signi cant costs. In some instances the child can be You can follow the latest research ndings on any harmful automatically registered as a subscriber to services with weekly e ects of radiation through mobile phone use on online news or monthly costs. Children are often not aware that ordering a sites. While the evidence for long-term harmful e ects is not single ringtone may activate a continuous subscription. easy to assess, Kids and Media urges caution. Some Internet sites for children and young people use mobile You can check a mobile phone’s SAR (speci c absorption rating), phones to collect payment for the purchase of virtual services which is a measurement of how much electromagnetic radiation or products. This applies to Habbo Hotel, for example. Parents is absorbed by body tissue whilst using the phone. The higher can choose to fully block these pages or set a spending limit. It the SAR the more radiation is absorbed. Governments have is important to discuss with your child and agree on limitations. compulsory or voluntary SAR limits for phone producers. The European Union has set a SAR limit of 2.0 W/kg in 10g of tissue. Teach your child that if she gets an unwanted text message, In the United States, all mobile phones must comply with the she should tell you about it. You can send STOP to the number Federal Communications Commission SAR limit of 1.6.
  19. 19. 19 Mobile phoneHow to reduce radiation? Choose a phone with minimal radiation. Use headphones with a microphone when talking on the phone. Limit the number of telephone conversations and duration. Send an SMS instead of ringing when you can. Use the landline phone at home. Do not keep your phone under your pillow or near your body at night. Switch the phone o when not in use.
  20. 20. Give children good gaming experiences Children can bene t greatly from playing PC and video games. There are many great games that entertain and promote learning. Give children the best games, get ready for great gaming experiences and dare to set limits! Show interestGames Play games with your children and talk to them about what with your child and agree what is unsuitable, like games with they experience through the games. Help children to relate violence and frightening content. Violent content is indicated by realistically to what they see and hear. Let the children feel that the PEGI content marks on the game box cover. Read more about you are interested in what preoccupies them. the PEGI age rating labels on Play and learn Limit games time Remember that games can stimulate the desire to learn in Discuss and agree with your children about when and how children and young people. What children learn from games much they can play according to their age and how much depends on which games parents give them. Learn about games time they need for schoolwork and other activities. Dare to be yourself by playing with your children. clear. Set limits for online games where your child interacts with others on the Internet. You can agree with other parents Take responsibility on common rules for when children play and for how long. Take the time to inform yourself about popular games on the Remember that interest in playing comes in waves. Do not panic market. Take the initiative to buy games you can vouch for, and if the child is in a period where he or she wants to spend lots of do not let your children alone decide what they play. You can time on games. read our game reviews on the Kids and Media regional websites. Remember that games can also be downloaded illegally from Play in the family space the Internet or copied from CD. Many young people are excited Place game consoles, TVs and PCs in a family room to make by online games because they are socially engaging. it easier to share your child’s experiences and be an active supervisor. It also makes it easier to follow what, when and how Follow age ratings and content labeling much they play. Not all games are suitable or intended for children. Check the minimum age recommendation label on the game. Set limits on Be aware of sitting posture the types of games you think your child should play. Discuss Arrange it so the children can sit well when they play.
  21. 21. 21 Read ga me rev iew s o n w w w. k id s a nd me d i a . co . u k GamesTalk to other parents Create alternativesYour child might claim that ”everybody else is allowed to play...” Do not let PC and video games become the child’s main hobby.or ”all the other children at school have…”. Share experiences, There are also many games which involve movement, such asadvice and ideas with other parents. Collaborate on agreed games for the Nintendo Wii, the Kinect for Xbox and PlayStationlimits of time and game content, and try to agree with other Move. Play with your child to encourage these active games.parents to follow the age recommendations on game labels. Physical activity and time with friends and family are vital for child development. Schedule a positive lifestyle for your child.
  22. 22. 22 Game ratings can help you The PEGI system of age ratings has been created to give parents information to help them make informed decisions when buying games. The PEGI age rating system was created in spring 2003, and the games search engine on for a several national age rating systems were thus replaced by more reliable indication of what age groups the games are best a single system across Europe. The game industry labels suited to. Our reviews include the PEGI labelling and give our own the games, and all games released in Europe are labelled in assessment of game content and di culty level. accordance with PEGI standards. PEGI o ers useful informationGames about the recommended age and content. Appeal On PEGI’s website you can read more about the Indicative ages labelling system and check the age recommendation for various The PEGI age rating is a recommendation of the age suitability games. Here it is also possible to appeal if you think that a game of a game’s content. Still, it says nothing about the game’s should have alternative content labelling. di culty level or the skills required to play a particular game. A game labelled ’3’ can be di cult for a child of three to play. Use Content Labelling A game’s cover will have a label showing the main reasons why the game has been given a speci c rating. There are 8 such content labels: Violence, bad language, fear, drugs, sexual content, gambling and online gaming with other players.
  23. 23. The PEGI ratingsPEGI labels can be seen on the front and back ofthe cover of a game’s packaging and indicate oneof the following age levels: 3, 7, 12, 16 or 18PEGI 3 PEGI 7 PEGI 12 PEGI 16 PEGI 18The contents of the game with This is a category of games Within this category fall games This category applies when This adult classi cation isthis labelling is considered to that would otherwise have showing violence of a much depictions of violence (or assigned to games with a highbe suitable for all age groups. been labelled PEGI 3, but which more graphic and detailed type sexual activity) reaches a level level of violence, with a displayViolence is in a comical context. contains some frightening practiced against fantasy which mimics what you might of extreme violence and /or(The type of serial violence in sequences or sounds that characters and/or human expect in reality. Games rated elements of speci c types ofBugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry can scare young children. gures or recognisable animals. 16 may include more extreme violence. It is di cult to de necartoons is accepted.) The child Sequences with partial nudity Games that show more detailed bad language, use of serious violence, it will often beshould not be able to associate are acceptable, but never in a nudity. Coarse language within tobacco and drugs and showing very subjective, but gener-the characters on the screen sexual context. this category may be relatively criminal acts. ally, in this context, it may bewith people in reality – they mild and not suggest sexual de ned as violence that causesshould be fully fantasy gures. abuse. the viewer to feel disgust.The game should not contain Gamessound or images that canfrighten small children. Theremust be no bad language orscenes with sexual activity.Bad Language Discrimination Drugs FearThe game contains Game contains depiction of, Game refers to or shows The game may be frighteningstrong language or material which may encourage, the use of drugs or scary for young children discriminationGambling Sexual content Violence Online gameGames that encourage The game depicts nudity and/or Game contains depictions The game can be playedor teach gambling sexual behaviour or sexual references of violence on the Internet
  24. 24. How to play online Today, many people buy games that can be played against one or more players on PCs or gaming consoles with an Internet connection. In addition, there are many websites o ering the ability toGames play pure online games, either alone or against others. Online games range from free and simple arcade games (mini games) to extensive RPGs (Role Playing Games) with many participants, where several thousand players are often involved playing the same game simultaneously. Many of the online-based games are also virtual meeting places, which means that players are exposed to risk when they play against people they do not already know. Online gaming risks: Content created within the game by other players may be unsuitable for minors and not in line with the rating the game PEGI Online has received. The PEGI Online Safety Code is a label that de nes a minimum level of protection of minors in the game environment on the Some players’ behaviour might be inappropriate for children. Internet. All those who sign up to the PEGI rules, undertake They might use inappropriate or offensive language, or they to take measures to keep their website free of inappropriate can use bullying in games that contain text, voice or video material and to ensure that users are acting in an appropriate communications. They may also behave unsportingly and manner. As a result, they are allowed to use the PEGI Online cheat or show aggression towards other players. label. Playing online may encourage children and young people If you want to report abuse or le a complaint about an online to build relationships and share personal information with game, you can ll out a form on the PEGI Online website and strangers or teammates enabling them to meet physically. submit it, then the matter will be investigated. Read more at or There may be links to websites that are inappropriate for children and adolescents.
  25. 25. Advice on children and online games Privacy or invitations to meet outside Warn children against giving the game. other players their personal information. Complaints You can report bad behaviour Terms on the Internet through Review the playing area terms gaming consoles or gaming Games and conditions of use. websites. Read about children and online games on Meeting other players If Warn children not to meet your think there is illegal players in person, unless beahviour, you can report to agreed with the parents and the police. they are accompanied by a parent, trusted adult or at Say STOP! least, a friend. Stop the communication or replace the child’s identity Set time limits on the Internet if there isPEGI OK label Keep an eye on your children’s something about the gameAn operator responsible for a website or a portal with mini activities at websites or the way it develops thatgames can have permission to use the PEGI OK label which with online games and set worries you.indicates that the game does not contain any material that boundaries for when and forrequires formal age labelling. how long they can play online. Suitable profile Make sure the child usesWhen a small game on a website has been labelled ”PEGI Talk to children an appropriate pro le nameOK”, it means that the game can be played by gamers of Invite children to show that follows the rules ofall ages. In other words, the game provides no risk and is you what they are doing the playing area. Such aappropriate for children. in the game and to tell name should not reveal any you about any instance personal information or be an of bullying, threats, foul inspiration for harassment. language, o ensive content
  26. 26. Overuse of games SYMPTOMS OF GAME ADDICTION Electronic games are fun and great Child ceases other entertainment. But for some children activities and young people game consumption Reduces contact can become so compulsive that it with friends and seems to be more important than disappears into the game world everything else in life. Stops sportsGames Skips school, ignors Parents’ interest and presence is essential for children and young homework and fails people’s healthy gaming habits. It prevents risky use of games, exams including overuse. From the moment the child gets his or hers rst game, we recommend you set boundaries for how long your Does not turn up for child can play and which games are allowed. You can discuss and meals revise your limits as your child matures. Plays at night and Opportunities and treatment sleeps during the day At Kids and Media we believe it is far better to take a possible gaming addiction problem seriously, rather than take a “see Tries to stop or cut what happens” approach, and hope that the problem blows over. down gaming, but In our work, we regularly meet parents who are faced with this problem, and we believe extended research on this phenomenon fails is necessary. There is also a need for competence development Parents have trouble and speci c health care designed to assist, inform and help victims and their families. sleeping because they are worried for the In most cases where children and young people have had an player excessive or problematic use of electronic games, all it takes is a reasonable conversation with parents leading to agreed time The family begins limits or possibly a period of games abstinence. In a few cases to suffer due to parents have gone one step further and have sought professional excessive gaming help.
  27. 27. Games
  28. 28. Living with digital TV For many families digital television is part of their everyday lives. It is characterised by better picture and sound, multiple TVs, more channels and more air time for both children and adults. Traditionally, children as a group watched less TV, but now, they watch more. One reason is the increasing supply of children’s channels and the increasing number of programs viewed by children and adults together.TV & Film Joys and challenges The TV media has changed dramatically in form and content since its inception in the 1950s. The volume of television and lms aimed at children and adolescents is increasing and the plots, heroes and characters have become more complex. The quantity of media products with violence and high-speed action increases, and can be targeted at younger viewers. At the same time, many television programs and lms are of high quality for entertainment and learning. The move to digital television means that you have more channels and greater exibility. The home will receive more international TV o erings. Children and young people have more access to channels and programs which are not meant for children, and with TV recording systems, they can watch what they want when they want. Access to TV has been enhanced with the increased number of programmes and TVs per household. This means that in recent years there has been an increased consumption of television - even among children. Digital television also means increased access to gaming and web sur ng. Television, games and the Internet are rapidly converging, and the latest TV models are connected to the Internet. This all challenges parents to take the time to select the best programs suitable for their children.
  29. 29. Advice on Children and TelevisionConscious channel selectionSuppliers of digital television services o er consumers various children of di erent ages have di erent rules for what and howchannel packages. Be aware of what channels you want in your much they can see. For some it may also be useful to introducehome and select carefully. When you select a package, bear in TV-free zones or TV-free time.mind that you can block some channels from the children (seebelow). Do not spend much time negotiating with the youngest children. A ”yes” or ”no” is much better than ”OK, if...” or a ”maybe”. ClearLocating the television and consistent parenting helps children feel secure.Kids and Media recommends that the television is placed in afamily room, where practicable. This makes it much easier for And remember that children learn a lot from their parents’ TV TV & Filmparents to keep track of what children watch, how much time habits.they spend watching TV, and how they experience the content.If you do allow your child or adolescent a TV, Internet, webcam Talk to your childrenor gaming console in his or her own room, be very clear on Talk to your children about good television habits. Teach youngthe rules. Clarity and consistency from parents, and trust and ones to recognise advertisements and discuss the motivation ofresponsibility from childen, are essential ingredients for happy advertisers. Help your children make conscious decisions as tomedia use. what they choose to watch. Invite your children to talk with you if they see something unpleasant, sad or disgusting on TV. It isParental Controls also a good idea to talk with children about what they perceiveSome TV operators o er parental controls, enabling parents to as fun or exciting.block individual channels which provide, for example, violentor sexual content not suitable for children. Kids and Media Talk to other parentsencourages parents to contact their television provider for It’s a good idea to exchange experiences with other parents andinformation on what they can do, and how to do it. Kids and give each other advice. Do not be gullible to your child’s claimsMedia works with providers to ensure that their decoders give that ”all the other children watch...”parents maximum exibility to de ne limits (content and time)for their children’s television consumption. Take responsibility Do not let the heroes on TV and in lms become the mostEncourage good television habits important role models in children’s lives. Be visible, listen toTake the initiative to watch good lms and programs with your your children’s needs and interests, and teach them to relatechildren and let them experience television as a rewarding to what they see, so they learn to choose and thus becomesocial and family activity. Keep up with what is broadcast and conscious media clear about the limitations you set at home. It is natural that
  30. 30. Children and News Real violence scares children Let the child explain News mediated through television Children are more frightened It is important that children by violence in the news than can verbalise what they see can make a strong impression the violence in cartoons. Small and hear – what they know through vibrant images and sound. children should be protected completely against strong and what they think about what they have seen. Let While children can learn a lot from news, such as war, natural them draw things they have disasters, violence, murder, seen on the news or write the news, younger children should sexual assault or tragic news stories or poems about what not watch it alone. involving children. Young they see and hear. In this way children may also fail to the child can process even theTV & Film understand that some clips strongest impression. are reruns and updates of an on-going news story and may Be clear believe that new disasters are If your children see or hear happening every night. anything that upsets them, then say clearly what you as Explain the news an adult think about what Children should be aware of has happened. Be careful to the big events that everyone explain how the news a ects is talking about. Watch some (or not) the child’s life. News news broadcasts along with can create undue fear of a your children and explain to reality that might not exist them what is happening. Use where the child lives. simple phrases and omit the gruesome details. Tell the good news In the midst of a disaster, Take your time there is also good news that Children need time to deal we all need to hear, namely with strong impressions. information about giving joy, Some children can wake up e orts in the relief campaign, with nightmares for days money kindly donated by after they’ve seen something charitable people. Discuss scary on television. So be what small thing you and extra attentive when your your children can do to help, child has seen worrying to reduce the feeling of guilt events on TV. and helplessness.
  31. 31. War reportingEducational Psychologist and one-time lm censor, Birgit Bruun, givesadvice on what children can understand and tolerate when it comes towar reporting on TV.At age 2 to 5 or 6 years, children From 5 to 9 years of age, children From 9 to 10 years of age, mostare particularly vulnerable. They often typically have anxiety reactions to children are abstracting and think nd it di cult to distiguish ctional violent television experiences. On beyond themselves. That does notfrom factual representations because starting school, children begin to mean that they are not dramaticallythey think very concretely and do not think a little less speci cally, i.e. they a ected emotionally by war and disasterunderstand the wider contexts or long can begin to assess and imagine what reports in the news, but often a sensibleperiods of time. They identify with might happen to other children or conversation with them may mitigateanimals or other children of similar themselves, and to understand what the e ects of media exposure, so theyage and take on their emotions. It’s is ction and what is real. Children are do not su er undue mental stress. It isincredibly important that they are very di erent, some cannot bear to see therefore important that adults, parentsnever left alone with unknown or other children su ering, for example, and teachers regularly talk to childrenunpredictable television programs at in a natural disaster. Other children about war and disasters, and teach themthis age and that there is always an can handle it with more maturity, to relate to such media coverage. TV & Filmadult nearby to explain and reassure. At especially if there is an adult present tothis age, children should not watch the explain and reassure. Children of thisnews or other possible shocking media. age should only watch the news with an adult present and ready to quickly switch o , divert or explain.UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989Children’s rights companies take into account stations to protect children Programmes classi ed 12The UN Convention Article 17 the needs of children when from media violence and years may only be broadcastcovers the rights of children they provide their o erings. sexual content. Countries from 8pm and those classi edto mass media information like Norway and England 16 years from 10pm.and to self-expression. But Protection practiced introduced a change in mediachildren are also entitled to differently laws so that content that Kids and Media believes thatprotection from: Many countries have their is ”potentially harmful to there should be clear age own television rating system, children’s physical, mental or labels for TV programmes”information and each country’s rating moral development” should in all countries, as we have process may di er due to be broadcast after 9 pm (the for games and lms, andand material local priorities. Programs are ”Watershed”)”. as in the Dutch system,injurious to rated by the organisation a given age rating wouldtheir welfare.” that manages the system, the The television rating system mean programmes would be broadcaster or by the content in the Netherlands was automatically broadcast at aAccess to violent entertain- producers themselves. created by the Dutch Institute suitable time of day.ment has never been easier A European Union directive for the Classi cation ofand it is important that media from 2000, required TV Audiovisual Media (NICAM).
  32. 32. Kids and Films There is a wide variety of lms for children and adolescents, and it can be challenging to get an overview of what is good for children to watch. In the United Kingdom, the The British Board of Film The BBFC classi es lms in one of the following Classi cation (BBFC) is responsible for the national classi cation categories: of lms. The BBFC is an independent, non-governmental body * U (Universal - suitable for all) which has classi ed cinema lms since it was set up in 1912 and * PG (Parental Guidance - some scenes may be unsuitable videos/ DVDs since the Video Recordings Act. 1984. for young children) * 12A/12 (Suitable for 12 years and over) General Principles * 15 (Suitable only for 15 years and over)TV & Film As described on, there are three main * 18 (Suitable only for adults) quali cations at the basis of the classi cations: Consumer Advice Whether the material is in conflict with the law, or has been The BBFC also offers Consumer Advice, which is a brief descrip- created through the commission of a criminal offence. tion of the content which determined the classification of a film or DVD. As well as noting particular issues such as violence, Whether the material may cause any harm at the category sex, language, drugs or any other matters likely to be of con- concerned. This includes not just any harm that may cern, it can also highlight themes, such as suicide, or contexts, result from the behaviour of potential viewers, but also such as comedy or fantasy, which can influence the strength any ‘moral harm’ that may be caused by, for example, of the material. At the junior categories Consumer Advice can desensitising a potential viewer to the effects of violence, warn of behaviour which may be potentially harmful if copied, degrading a potential viewer’s sense of empathy, or highlight content, such as characters in dangerous situa- encouraging a dehumanised view of others, suppressing tions, which might frighten or upset younger viewers. pro-social attitudes, encouraging anti-social attitudes, reinforcing unhealthy fantasies, or eroding a sense of moral Consumer Advice indicates the strength of individual issues responsibility. Especially with regard to children, harm by using the terms ‘mild’, ‘moderate’, ‘strong’ and ‘very strong’, may also include retarding social and moral development, across the categories. For example, language at ‘U’ and ‘PG’ is distorting a viewer’s sense of right and wrong, and limiting likely to be ‘mild’ while at ‘15’ and ‘18 language can be ‘strong’ their capacity for compassion. and ‘very strong’. Where relevant, the frequency with which the issue appears in the work is also indicated. Whether the availability of the material, at the age group concerned, is clearly unacceptable to broad public opinion. It Parental advice is on this ground, for example, that the BBFC intervenes in Kids and Media reviews current cinema releases and strives to respect of bad language. advise parents with in-depth assessment of each lm, its age suitability as well as its entertainment value.
  33. 33. TV & FilmKids and Media’s Film ReviewsWatching lms can be entertaining and educational. It is also apleasant family activity. With our lm reviews we highlight the lms that wethink are worth watching, and we give advice on who we thinkthe lms are suited to. We watch and critique most lms aimedat children, adolescents and families and also some lms rated15 that receive lots of media attention.Film reviews are listed chronologically with the newest on top.Use the search feature on the front page of the site if you’relooking for speci c lm titles.
  34. 34. Family Conversations MOBILE CONVERSATION: Mobile Use: How can you use your phone in a positive way?Draft questions without Consumption: How mucheasy answers that lend money do you think it is OKthemselves to conversations that your child spends on the phone each month? Whobetween parents and should pay the bill?children. Get inspired for a Content services: What should you think about beforegood conversation with downloading ringtonesyour kids. and pictures or using other content services? Are there content services, which you do not want your child to use? Safe use: To whom is it OK to give your phone number? When should the phone be switched on and o , or maybe set to silent? Lawful use: What should you think of when you take photos of others on a mobile camera? School and mobile phones: What are the rules for using mobiles at school? Sad or unpleasant experiences: What do you do if you nd anything objectionable or o ensive on your mobile phone? Radiation: Should we take precautions to reduce radiation?
  35. 35. 35INTERNET CHAT: Behaviour: Ask Net friends: What doyourself, how does “be you do if you meet someonetowards others as you want online who wants to meetthem to be towards you” you in real life? Is it a goodapply on the Internet? idea to go alone if you meet a friend from the Web? Password: How can youmake passwords that are Download: What shouldhard to guess? Is it a good you think through beforeidea to share passwords you download free les andwith others? content that you nd on the net? Social media: Whatinformation about yourself On/o : How much timedo you think it is a good is it OK to spend on the net?idea to publish online? When in the day is it goodWhat should you think to be online?about and who should youask before putting photos Content: What sites areand information about OK to visit? What websitesothers on the web? do you think are not good to visit?Chat: What rules wouldyou follow to make your Sad/unpleasant:chat as con dent and What do you do if youcomfortable as possible? experiencing something disgusting or upsettingSource criticism: How online?can you tell if informationor o ers on a website are tobe trusted?
  36. 36. TV DEBATE:Experiences: What isyour best lm experience?What TV programs do youlike best?On/off: How much timedo you think it is OK towatch TV? What time ofday is it good to watch lmsor TV?Age Limits: Why arethere age limits on lms?Are they respected?Effect: How are wea ected by seeing violenceon TV? How are wein uenced by advertising?Content: Are there lmsor television programs thatyou do think are not OK towatch? What is the limit forwhat type of content it isOK to watch?Sad/uncomfortable:What can you do if you seesomething that is scary oruncomfortable?