Ofcom report highlights ‘multi-tasking media users’

Posted 19 Aug 2010

Ofcom report highlights ‘multi-tasking media users’

Young people and adults are increasingly using social media within their everyday lives. The annual Communications Market Report says that the average person spends around 15 hours 45 minutes every day awake. Of this time, it says, the average person spends seven hours and five minutes “engaging in media and communications activities”. The report suggests that internet take-up has now reached 73% in the UK, the majority of which is fixed broadband.

Additionally the report says that the number of people using their phone to surf the web currently stands at 13.5m people. This has almost tripled since 2008, when the figure stood at 5.7m. It suggested that, in part, much of this increase had been driven by one site – Facebook – which accounts for 45% of all mobile web use in the UK, followed by Google at 8%.
However, a continued concern about online privacy still persists due to the limited privacy settings offered by Facebook. An article in The independent (Wed 19th August ’10) Google chief: My fears for Generation Facebook Eric Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, has issued a stark warning over the amount of personal data people leave on the internet and suggested that many of them will be forced one day to change their names in order to escape their cyber past.

The reality is even with privacy risks of personal and professional digital information being stolen or used during a possible future employer – people are still online using social network sites. Fear mongering the public about privacy issues is not addressing or resolving the situation. Young people and adults require appropriate, accessible and easy to understand information & educational opportunities to gain digital skills :

• How to use the privacy settings correctly on each social network sites.
• Who and how to report if they have been a victim of identity theft
• Who and how to report if they have received inappropriate digital content (racist, violent, sexually explicit or homophobic)
• How to advocate their right to request digital content that has been posted without their permission to be deleted and or de-tagged
• Review their personal social network sites and decide if any previous posted digital content should be removed or deleted.
• Reflect about what future digital content is appropriate to share in the future without it impacting their future aspirations.

CEOP offers a FREE half day training course http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/teachers/training.aspx
Over the last three years over 4.5 million young people have been educated through the Thinkuknow programme, CEOP. However, there are over 11 million children and young people in the UK.

There is a clear gap in the market for a company to create the technology where you as an end user would be able to assign the right to use, copy or distribute information about yourself to people of your own choosing. This technology is already used in encrypted emails. I perceive the demand will be for encrypted social networking sites. The question is which company will offer this product? Facebook? Google? Consumer are not brand loyal to social network sites, this is evidence by the diminishing membership to Bebo & Myspace.

Helpful hyperlinks about privacy settings – Facebook

Facebook ‘Help Centre’ http://www.facebook.com/help/?ref=drop

Privacy settings – http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=419
Short article that explains how to change privacy settings on a Facebook profile. This article was correct when posted, however, Facebook regularly changes and modifies it’s privacy settings. I would invite you to review your privacy settings every month.

Webpages for young people & youth practitioners about online safety:
Think you Know – http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/
CEOP – http://www.ceop.gov.uk/
Cybermentors – http://www.cybermentors.org.uk/
Digizen – http://www.digizen.org.uk/
UK Council for Child Internet Safety – http://clickcleverclicksafe.direct.gov.uk/index.html

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