Summits Yellow

Vodafone Plays Mum

David Murphy

Vodafone has launched what it says is the first comprehensive website to support parents who are trying to understand their childrens online activities and support them  in their digital world. The Vodafone Parents Guide website has been developed with parenting website Mumsnet, and tested extensively, to ensure that it builds parents confidence. The aim of the website is to help parents play an active and essential role in their childrens digital world and to get to grips with their use of mobiles, Twitter and other online social media destinations and applications.
Vodafone says that Vodafone.com/parents is the first resource to bring such a wide range of topics together in one place. Divided into two sections, Get to grips with technology and Get involved and stay in control, it offers up-to-date guidance on challenging issues, such as childrens excessive use of technology; managing their presence in social media; access to location-based technology; cyber-bullying; and the risks of meeting strangers online.
With technology developing at such an incredible pace, its great that Vodafone has produced an online resource to help us understand it, says Mumsnet Co-founder, Carrie Longton. The feedback from the parents on Mumsnet was very positive and many felt they learned a huge amount while they were testing the site.
Professor Tanya Byron, highlighted the generational divide between parents and their children in her 2008 Review Safer Internet in a Digital Age, and noted  that  parents do not feel equipped to help their children in the digital world. She commented that they either underestimate or do not realise how often children come across potentially harmful and inappropriate material on the Internet and are often unsure what they would do about it and said that this generational divide can lead to fear and a sense of helplessness.
Annie Mullins OBE, Global Head of Content Standards at Vodafone, who led the development of the website, says:
Many parents tell us that they are baffled by what their children are doing, be it on their on their mobile, on Facebook or via their iPhones. They say its hard to keep up with the pace of change. Their desire is to get simple, clear information on everyday matters, such as knowing what age a child should be given a mobile, or setting the rules for using Facebook, and very practical advice about what to do. Our new Parents Guide empowers parents as they face the challenges of the Twitter generation.