The NSPCC pushing for talks, from parents and schools,

The predominant body of research has
highlighted how social media and technology has become an essential component
of the lives of individuals (O’Keeffe & Clarke-Pearson 2011; Blum-Ross
& Livingstone, 2016). Therefore, it is the responsibility of UK policy to
provide support
to families to ensure that the major negative consequences of technology and social media
are reduced.

Statistics highlight that from the
age of 10 to 11,
the incidence of having a social
media profile doubles (Ofcom, 2016). In the UK, this is
the age in which children move from primary school to secondary education. This
distinct link provides the perfect opportunity for a change in educational policy
to allow more internet safety based
lessons, especially in the first year of secondary school.

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Furthermore, the prevalence in sexting behaviour
amongst children and adolescents calls for the
increased awareness of the behavioural and psychosocial factors associated with
sexting (Katzman, 2010). Sexting needs to be regarded as a public health issue,
with the NSPCC pushing for talks, from parents and schools, with children
regarding the dangers of sexting as soon as they receive technology. An example
of a current programme is the Vodafone Digital Parenting Scheme,
which provides parents and teachers with information to help children thrive in
the modern digital world. Therefore, more government funded interventions and programmes
are needed to provide schools and parents with the tools they need to discuss
these issues further with children.

It is clear from a technological
perspective that the family ecosystem is interdependent
(Williams & Merten, 2011). This means that the family as a whole is
affected by the behaviour of the individuals. Therefore, to tackle the internet dependency
of children, the government must provide parents with
information about preventative
methods, for instance technology free meal times. Previous literature has highlighted
the beneficial implications of setting boundaries and moderating internet usage
(Lee, 2013; Livingstone & Helsper, 2008). However, this research emphasises
that parental internet skills
are required to implement successful mediation

Concluding Points

The family is an interdependent system,
which means the behaviour of individuals’ impacts the whole family (Williams
& Merten, 2011). Therefore, internet dependency needs to be tackled to prevent
long term negative effects of technology
usage on the whole family.

There is clear evidence which shows
the psychosocial implications
of technology usage on family life. For instance, findings have suggested a
digital underclass, whereby socioeconomic status can ultimately lead to social
isolation, which can have a detrimental impact on all members of the family.

Therefore, more government interventions are needed to ensure children and
adults do not fall behind in this digital era.

Research in Switzerland, offered a
critical insight into the relationship between socioeconomic status and technology.

They suggested that access to new technology was no longer a privilege only for
the high-income families (Camerini, Schulz & Jeannet, 2017). This needs to
be considered by the UK as it implies that more and more families will be able to access the
which creates a need for interventions regarding internet safety.

The research presented in this paper
comes from a variety of socioeconomically
diverse societies, thus the government need to
consider the applicability to the UK when acknowledging the research.