New research has found that a third of 11 years regularly break the law online by accessing illegal file sharing sites
11 years old has been revealed as the pivotal age for parents to discuss responsible internet use with their children, as new research found that more than a quarter (28%) of children first start visiting illegal websites by this age.
A study of 1,000 11-16 year olds, carried out by youth research specialists Dubit on behalf of the music, film, TV and video industries, discovered:
- By age 11, one in five (21%) of children regularly access illegal music, film, TV and video file-sharing sites
- By age 12, over a quarter (28%) of children regularly access illegal music, film, TV and video file-sharing sites
- By age 13, almost half (42%) of children regularly access illegal music, film, TV and video file-sharing sites
- Almost three quarters (73%) of children are introduced to illegal file-sharing websites by their friends
Author of The Byron Review (2008) and child psychologist, Professor Tanya Byron is supporting internet safety charity, Childnet International, to help parents and teachers talk to teens about safe and responsible internet use.
Supporting Childnet’s Music, Film, TV and the Internet guide, they’ve penned a set of conversation starters for parents and teachers to begin discussing how to enjoy the internet responsibly with children and young people. The guide also provides information on the safety and security risks of downloading entertainment illegally or visiting illegal file sharing websites – such as being exposed to computer viruses, receiving offensive material or theft of personal and financial information.
Professor Byron spoke of her reasons for launching the campaign:
“The majority of parents will confidently tell their children that it is wrong to steal or shoplift in the real world, but it’s vital that they also help kids understand what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour online, and why it’s just as harmful.
“The new leaflet and our conversation starters provide parents with concise, up-to-date information and practical advice to start conversations about responsible internet use with their children. These will not only help parents address the issue of illegal film, TV and music file-sharing with their children, but will help them to discuss online responsibility together.”
Four tips from Tanya Byron and Childnet to help parents start conversations about responsible internet use with young people:1. Download the Music, Film, TV and the Internet guide – find out how you can access and enjoy digital entertainment legally online and talk to your children about the consequences of illegal file-sharing or streaming sites. E.g. show them the ‘Staying safe and responsible’ section in Childnet’s guide and let them know you could face legal action if the household account is identified as being used for unlicensed file-sharing.
2. Agree a code of acceptable internet use – sit down with your children and agree an internet code of practice you’re all happy with. Discuss what your family’s online needs are and agree what online content is and isn’t acceptable to access or share. E.g. just as you wouldn’t share your house keys with a stranger, think about what content - including personal and financial information - you should share online.
3. Inhabit internet space together – normalise the right behaviour in the home for responsible internet use, in the same way you do offline by doing things as a family wherever possible. E.g. in the same way you might have a family meal together, or a trip to the cinema, is there something similar you can do together online – such as legally downloading or streaming a film or album to enjoy together.
4. Consider parental control software and security software – although parental control software doesn’t offer a total solution to protecting children and young people from illegal and age-restricted material online, it can help to limit the websites your children can access.
The tips can be found at www.childnet.com/downloading, along with the free downloadable guide - Music, Film, TV and the Internet.
Lucinda Fell, Director of Policy and Communications at Childnet International, said:
“We know that many parents are concerned about keeping up with what their children are doing online. We know from our work in schools that parents often tell us they are confused about what can and can't be done safely and legally online.
“The Music, Film, TV and the Internet guide gives parents and teachers some free practical information and advice about accessing entertainment online, and supports the concept of responsible digital citizenship – the idea of behaving as safely and responsibly online as you would offline."