In recent years, there has been a sharp rise in the use of social media channels. Controlling the online surfing time of our youngsters, and understanding exactly who they are talking to, has been one of the biggest challenges of parenting in recent years.
In the latest news, parents are being warned of the ‘Momo Challenge’ that is sweeping the internet, where a user named Momo is instructing children to perform a series of dangerous tasks. Hoax or not, the idea that a user can influence our children without us realising is really quite frightening.
We caught up with Dr Graham Evans, Chief Information and Technology Officer at the Trust, to hear about its Protecting Our Digital Users of the Future guide.
Like many people, working with, and using new digital technologies, we see the incredible things it helps us to achieve every single day. The internet is a fantastic resource that provides a vast and growing array of social media platforms, helping people to stay in touch, even at opposite ends of the world. It also provides a plethora of information at the touch of a button, and for the curious, it can be like opening Pandora’s Box.
For the most part, this world of digital freedom is, and can be, a positive experience. However, we must also acknowledge that with the evolution and increased presence of such platforms comes great responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. For example, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are just some of the social media sites young people are accessing, and with tablets, phones and Smart TVs, keeping on top of internet safety is no easy feat.
I hope this guide will help you to reflect on not only your own relationship with the internet and the services and resources it provides, but that of your children too. It’s about understanding not only the sites that they’re accessing, but also the content within. This is by no means a steadfast, prescriptive guide –but rather a source of material to start a conversation and guide your own approach to handling all the nuances – positive and negative of social media.
Dr Graham Evans, Chief Information and Technology Officer at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust and Chief Digital Officer for the emerging ICS across North East and Cumbria