Positive and Negative Aspects of the Internet

Positive aspects of the Internet and Apps:

  • Great for research and creativity
  • Cheap or free communication and collaboration
  • Easy to create and publish content and get it noticed
  • Great for children to develop future job skills as fun hobbies
  • Introduces children to the world of commerce and business
  • Encourages creativity and individualism
  • Children feel they have ‘ownership’ of the Internet

Negative aspects of the Internet and Apps:

  • Cyber bullying and the lack of appropriate rules
  • Online privacy and personal information and the increasing likelihood of being hacked
  • Reputation management and ‘digital footprint’
  • Sexting, grooming, pornography and inappropriate material
  • Illegal downloads and copyright infringement
  • Spam, phishing, viruses and malware
  • Children lying about their age to get onto social networking platforms with a 13+ age limit
  • Pressure to respond to comments 24/7


The positives need to outweigh the negatives in e-safety education:

The best outcome regarding e-safety incidents, cyber bullying and online harassment with school-aged children is always to persuade the pupils to see the consequences of their actions and remove the material of their own accord. It is important to promote positive digital citizenship and ensure that children treat peers with respect.

Much better outcomes are seen when children decide for themselves what is and is not appropriate and self-regulate their actions.

Schools and parents have a huge role to play in providing this guidance first, rather than imposing rigid rules and sanctions as an initial measure.

Minimum Age Limits

Most social networking sites and apps are based in the US and under privacy laws in this country, you have to be 13 years old to register.

There is no legal violation if you use these sites or Apps, if you are under 13. The only rule you are breaking is the terms and conditions set up by company that owns the site or App.

Many children and young people have become savvy to this and use sites below the age of 13. The important issue around this is that they can then put themselves in potential danger as predators can target them when using this sites/Apps. With the development of video streaming and photo Apps, children need to be aware of the pitfalls.

Also, parents need to be aware of back channeling which is when conversations take place along side an activity e.g. playing video games.


Social Networking Use

  • Facebook now has 1.55 billion active users.
  • 2.9 billion Google searches are made every day.
  • 2.7 million blog posts are published every day.

Source: https://hostingfacts.com

  • Instagram has a much younger audience, 39% of its UK users are aged 16-24.
  • 64% of Instagram users are female vs 56% of Facebook users.

Source: http://www.rosemcgrory.co.uk/ 

  • 60% of Snapchat’s users are 13 to 24 years old. Similarly, 63% of its audience are 18 to 34-year-olds

Source: (Snapchat) 

  • YouTube has over a billion users–almost a third of all people on the Internet–and every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos and generate billions of views.
  • Once users are on YouTube, they are spending more time per session watching videos. On mobile, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes

Source: YouTube 


  • Six out of 10 teenagers say they have been asked for sexual images or videos
  • 40% said they had created a sexual image or video, and about a quarter said they had sent one to someone else by text.
  • Of those who had sent an image or video to someone else by text, 58% said the image had been sent to a boyfriend or girlfriend, but a third said they had sent it to someone they knew online but had never met.
  • About 15% said they had sent the material to a stranger.
  • Of those who said they had sent a photo to someone, 20% said it had then been shared with other people, while 28% said they did not know if their picture had been shared with anyone else.
  • More than half (53%) of those questioned said they had received a sexual photo or video, a third of whom had received it from astranger.

 Source: NSPCC/Childline


Online behaviours

  • One in six 12-15s and one in ten 8-11s who go online say they have seen something online in the past year that was worrying, nasty or offensive
  • Three in ten 12-15s (28%) said they knew of someone who had had any of a range of negative experiences asked about, including online/mobile contact or conduct, in the past year.
  • Around one in 12 12-15s (8%) say they have been contacted online by someone they do not know and one in eight (13%) know someone this has happened to.
  • Two per cent say they have seen something of a sexual nature, either online or on their mobile phone, rising to 5% saying they know someone this has happened to.
  • Only one in ten 8-11s and 12-15s say they have personally experienced any kind of bullying in the past 12 months, including face to face.
  • Some older children (12-15s) do have knowledge of potentially risky behaviours, for example one-third of Internet users know how to delete their browsing history.

Source: OFCOM, 2015


Childrens Internet Use

  • 12-15s now spend nearly three and a half hours a week more online than they do watching a TV set.
  • Tablets are now the device most often used for going online among all age groups except 12-15s.
  • 12-15s in 2015 are most likely to use their mobile to go online; seven in ten 12-15s now have a smartphone.
  • The majority of children aged 5-15 live in households with access to on-demand services. 12-15s who watch both TV and YouTube content are more likely to say they prefer to watch YouTube.
  • Three-quarters of 12-15s have a social media profile. Facebook continues to dominate as the main network of all children, but imaged-based apps are growing in popularity; increasing numbers of children have a profile on Instagram or Snapchat.

Source: OFCOM

Issue Number: 4


Parental Concerns

  • A quarter of parents of 5-15s are concerned about the online content their child is exposed to.
  • One in five parents of 5-15s are concerned about whom their child is in contact with online
  • A third of parents of children aged 5-15 are concerned that their child may be giving out personal details to inappropriate people.
  • Around three in ten parents of 5-15s are concerned about online bullying.
  • A quarter of parents of 12-15s are concerned about their child sharing inappropriate or personal photos or videos online.
  • One in four parents of 5-15s are concerned about their child seeing content which encourages them to harm themselves.
  • One in eight parents of 12-15s feel they don’t know enough to help their child manage online risks.

Source: OFCOM


Key tips:

  • Know what your children are doing online.
  • As they get older, ensure that they become more resilient to the pressures associated with the Internet
  • Be aware who your children are talking to online. Make it clear that people that they don’t know are strangers
  • Explain why your children should not give out personal details online.
  • Emphasise that having many different ‘followers’ or ‘likes’ does not necessarily make them popular
  • Explain to your child that nothing is private on the Internet – anything can be copied, whether it be private pictures, comments or messages.
  • Point out that your child should always consider what an employer or partner might be able to find about them on Google in 5 to 10 years’ time.
  • Avoid replying to junk, spam or phishing emails, or opening attachments which might contain viruses or malware.
  • Make sure that children become better critical thinkers and can evaluate content on the Internet such as propaganda.
  • Ensure your child does not meet up with online friends.
  • Creating a positive environment where your child can be open and inquisitive and feel confident discussing their online experiences, whether positive or negative.
  • Teach your children how to block and report any behaviour or content which makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • Investigate ways in which you can set parental controls on devices and home broadband

Useful links: