Concerned parent or big brother?

A February article from BBC News states that "a mobile app is to be launched later this year in the UK which will give parents remote access to everything their children get up to on their phones. The app will give parents access to everything that their child does on their mobile phone and includes an alert system for inappropriate sites as well as an opportunity to read every message on the phone.

Does this represent a step forward for engaged parenting and an advance in e-safety? Many teachers are increasing concerned by the online activities of even very young children. These kinds of developments may support a more integrated home-school approach to protecting children in a fast changing world.

Although some children happily share what is on their phones with their parents many children would not wish parents to know, especially if they are sharing difficult family situations with friends. Whatever parents decide to do it is clear that internet safety and the sensible teaching of what is and what is not appropriate to share on any mobile device must start at home, with the full support of school. E-safety education has, rightly, placed a high emphasis on the dangers of predatory adults and the distress of cyber bullying. These will remain important features but, with mobile technology maturing and becoming integrated in all of our lives, education and parents part in it, needs to become more nuanced and broader.

With every individual's digital legacy now stretching from childhood into adulthood, the implications of our online behaviour are becoming lifelong. For parents,this is especially important for their child's educational future - when increasingly colleges and higher institution check their students out in the virtual world as part of the application process.

You can see the full news item on the BBC News site.

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