Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Children and Media Risk

A number of articles and reports have come out this week focusing on the many ways that children are "under threat," a couple of which offer both interesting findings and some good insight into adults' ongoing worries about kids and technology. The first is a report by market research group Insight Media, on the things parents worry about the most when it comes to their kids. The article from Associated Content reads:
Modern day parents are more worried about their kids' consumption of TV and the Internet than they are about their their kids' involvement with sex or drugs according to a recent studied conducted by Insight Media Group.

Specifically, parents are worried about their kids' "overuse of media" including social networking, downloading music, playing video games, and and of course, watching TV.

Overuse of TV, not the Internet, is still TV that made the top list of parental concerns in regard to media overuse, according to the study.

Percentages attributed to each type of media, and parental concern of its overuse:

29% Television
24% Internet
18% Video Games

I suppose that television's near ubiquitous presence in children's homes is what puts it at the top of the list here, although there's also been continued rumblings about high levels of violence and commercialization on TV, which may relate to this "concern." As always, video games are up there in the top 3, though didn't score quite as high as I would have expected.

The second report hails from the EU, where mobile phone manufacturers have banded together to make phones "safer" for kids. No, they're not implementing some new protective shielding to protect kids brains from potentially harmful radiofrequency energy (RF) exposure. Instead they're tackling issues related to access - namely other people's access to kids through mobile phone technologies. From the MAGIC mailing list:
A group of more than a dozen European mobile phone companies signed an agreement to help make mobile phones safer for children. The Framework on Safer Mobile Use was developed in response to a European Commission study on child safety and mobile phones. Threats to children via mobile phones include bullying, sexual grooming for abuse, access to pornographic and violent content and privacy risks.
[...]
By signing the European Framework on Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children, the mobile phone companies agreed to support access control for adult content, awareness-raising campaigns for parents and children, the classification of commercial content according to national standards of decency and appropriateness, and the fight against illegal content on mobile phones. The agreement, brokered by the European Commission, calls on the companies to develop national self-regulatory codes by February 2008.

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