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Computers: Why they really are child's play to kids


New approach: families are being encouraged to use the internet together

New approach: families are being encouraged to use the internet together

Getty Images/moodboard RF

New approach: families are being encouraged to use the internet together

There's plenty of info out there on how to police your children's browser habits, how to activate parental controls and protect them from the murkier parts of the web, but a new initiative wants to get kids and parents exploring the internet together. Created by Vodafone and the Parent Zone advice site, and backed by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, My Tech Family (www.vodafone.com/parents/mytechfamily) was designed in response to parents' concerns that they're struggling to keep up with the speed at which technology develops.

Ofcom's annual survey last year revealed that the average six or seven-year-old has a higher DQ (digital quotient) score than those aged 45 to 49, and that DQ peaks around the age of 15.

This means adults are getting left behind by their "digital native" offspring who have grown up playing with an iPad rather than an Etch-a-sketch. Meanwhile, 63% of parents surveyed by the Parent Zone said they think tech innovation is widening the generation gap.

The launch follows the new computing curriculum that replaced ICT (Information and Communications Technology) in primary schools last September, seeing a move away from the staid PC studies of the past in favour of a focus on coding and the inner workings of computers.

Offering lesson plans, presentations and a workbook for teachers, the scheme has now been rolled out nationwide following a pilot project in four schools.

"For so long, the internet message to parents has been: 'Don't use it! Keep your kids away from this, it's dangerous,'" said Kevin Sandall, ICT teacher at St Katherine's Junior School in Wiltshire.

"It was really refreshing to have something that embraced the internet in a positive way."

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But you don't have to be in school to take part.

At home, families can take a quiz which uses 15 statements to determine your learning style and suggests net activities that might suit, like having a go at genealogy or splashing about with Squigglefish, the virtual aquarium.

Visit www.digitalstylequiz.co.uk to get started

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