Don't believe the hype about children going online, just keep calm and carry on

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Sep 27, 2018

via Flickr © LGEPR (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © LGEPR (CC BY 2.0)

  • BT highlights the homework v. being online problem 
  • Suggests ways the 'problem' might be tackled 
  • Relax 

I'm sorry, but I can't take this stuff seriously. I know BT has WiFi services to sell and that some bright spark must have said in one of those creative meetings, "Let's pull together a series of dos and don'ts for parents around broadband use. We can highlight the controls on our WiFi gadgetry and so position our WiFi offerings as the 'responsible' parental option. Oh, and to reinforce the whole thing we could do a survey getting parents to do their favourite thing - bemoan the behaviour of their offspring." Or something like that. 

And so BT's Whole Home WiFi  campaign was born (see BT press release below).

And here we are, wondering what the other 75 per cent of parents do while the 25 per cent are regularly arguing with their children about turning off their devices at bedtime. Presumably those 75 per cent of outliers either don't care that their offspring are glued to Facebook, or they don't know, or (and this is really too much to take in) they don't see a problem.

Personally, having reared three reasonably well-adjusted and well-educated offspring myself in a house completely irradiated with WiFi and knee-deep in gadgets, I don't remember any difficulty. But I know the parental syndrome BT is trying to hook, since my own parents were fixated by what they had been told was the malignant influence of the television and tried, at least for a time, to lever their children away from it. With no success.

So, I can't help but feel that even mild concerns about 'online 'tend to feed into the current moral panic around Facebook, Google and the rest of them. As always, the problem (if problem it be) is not technology, but human behaviour. And if it wasn't WiFi, it would be something else. 

Press release below

New research from BT Whole Home Wi-FI reveals nearly two-thirds of parents say children are too distracted online when they should be focusing on homework

Sep 27, 2018 11:20 BST

New Research From BT Whole Home Wi-FI Reveals Nearly Two-Thirds of Parents Say Children Are Too Distracted Online When They Should be Focusing on Homework

  • 65% of parents admit they endure a daily struggle to get children, aged 10-15, to concentrate on homework as they are distracted online
  • 25% of parents regularly argue with children about turning off devices at bedtime
  • 54% of parents would like to control online time by having the ability to pause and schedule their home wi-fi for a more balanced family lifestyle

Nearly two-thirds of parents in the UK say that their children struggle to concentrate on homework in the home as they are constantly distracted by social networks, messaging, online games, and other online services according to new research by BT Whole Home Wi-Fi*.

72% of parents with children aged 7-18 claim that when their child is doing homework they look on the internet for the answer, and 50% of parents think it takes their kids longer to finish as they get distracted. When it comes to turning off devices at bedtime 25% of parents acknowledge regularly arguing with children.

Other key findings from parents include:

  • Only 48% of children will come off the internet when their parents ask

  • 33% of 10-16 year old children say they’ve turned off their devices at bedtime when they haven’t

  • 64% believe modern technology gives children access to a world of knowledge

54% of parents would like better built-in controls to help manage their family’s online time. BT’s Whole Home Wi-Fi helps parents with a variety of features like the ability to pause the internet for specific devices, and smart wi-fi scheduling to help with bedtimes and offline time.

Bruce Cuthbert, Director of BT Devices: “There are so many benefits for our children online, and an equal number of distractions. With kids back in school and autumn upon us, we’re spending more time indoors and the temptation is for kids to spend more time online. With Whole Home Wi-Fi, parents can pause and schedule connectivity in the home by device to help children focus during study time and improve their sleep, finding the right balance of online and offline time for the whole family.”

Nearly half of parents asked (47%) have admitted that the use of technology and being online means they don’t spend as much time with their children as they would like to. Over half of parents (54%) wish their children would come to them with homework questions instead of using a search engine or voice assistant.

In addition, the new research showed that children’s favourite thing to do with free time is to go online, with 82% of 14 year olds choosing to go on YouTube.

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters said: “Whether it’s playing the latest game, or the constant pressure of feeling they need to respond to their friends’ messages, being connected can be a huge distraction for children. Combined with open discussions with children about being online, tools like Whole Home Wi-Fi that allow families to schedule their connectivity can be hugely helpful for parents trying to create a healthier balance of screen time versus family time. Children respond well to clear boundaries, so having a routine of when they can go online and when they can’t helps prevent that common tug of war over the tablet or games console. Our top tips on creating a healthy home environment for screen time can guide parents in how to tackle some of the challenges they face.”

Internet Matters has also developed guidance for parents with BT to help families find the right balance for online time at home:

Internet Matters Top Tips for Parents

  • Agree a routine and appropriate length of time children can be online
  • Put in place a family agreement to set the boundaries – don’t break them!
  • Use technology and apps like BT’s Whole Home Wi-Fi to manage screen time and Wi-Fi access, especially at bedtimes
  • Talk together about the time you spend online
  • Get the whole family to unplug and create ‘screen free zones’
  • Set a good example with your own device use

For more product information about BT Whole Home Wi-Fi please visit the BT Shop –

BT partners with non-for profit-organisation, Internet Matters, to share the latest online safety advice with even more parents and children across the UK through online information and guides.

  • The BT Whole Home Wi-Fi research surveyed 1,000 parents with children under the age of 18

Other key findings from the research include:

  • 67% of all children would choose to spend time on YouTube during spare time in the family home

  • 60% of parents use the internet as a reward for good behaviour

  • 82% spent more time playing outside when they were young compared to their children
  • 45% of 16-17 year olds spend two hours online during term time, with around 50% spending over four hours online during the school holidays
This content extract was originally sourced from an external website (BT Newsroom) and is the copyright of the external website owner. TelecomTV is not responsible for the content of external websites. Legal Notices

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