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ParentShield Responds to Young People’s Views on Under-16s Phones

VotesforSchools recently asked children and young people across the UK for their thoughts on the idea of specially-designed phones for under 16’s aimed at improving online safety. With over 57,000 young participants, the insights gained were invaluable.

VotesforSchools invited ParentShield to join their impact partners and share our perspective on this important issue.

ParentShield’s Take on Under-16s Phones:

“While the notion of introducing under-16s phones for safety purposes may initially sound appealing, it’s crucial to acknowledge the existing solutions that provide safety without the associated drawbacks,”

Paul Stevenson, CMO at ParentShield.

ParentShield elaborated on several key points:

  1. Cost and Practicality: Specialised phones often come with high upfront costs or lengthy contracts and can carry substantial insurance costs, which could pose challenges for families. In contrast, modern smartphones already include parental controls that enable parents to regulate their child’s access to applications and filter inappropriate websites.
  2. Existing Solutions: ParentShield emphasises that all modern smartphones come equipped with robust parental control options. These tools allow parents to manage their child’s online access effectively.
  3. Enhanced Control: Additionally, SIM-based solutions, such as ParentShield further enhance these controls by facilitating remote monitoring and automatic safeguarding alerts to parents.
  4. Practical Use: Most children’s first phones are typically hand-me-downs from their parents. Therefore, the idea of under-16s phones, while reassuring, may not be as practical as leveraging the existing safety features on standard devices.

Young People’s Insights:

  • Primary 5-11 Age Group: 65% of 7-11 year olds said that they wouldn’t rather use an under-16’s phone.
  • Secondary 11-16 Age Group: 91% of Secondary students voted ‘No’ to the question “Would you feel safer with an under-16’s phone?”
  • Common theme: Many voters argued that an under-16s phone is unnecessary because there are already parental restriction options on standard devices.

ParentShield’s feedback aligns with the broader sentiment from young people. While the concept of under-16s phones may initially sound appealing, the existing parental controls and monitoring solutions on modern smartphones provide a more practical, flexible, and cost-effective approach to ensuring children’s safety.

About VotesforSchools:

VotesforSchools is passionate about children and young people being informed, curious, and heard. Each week, they enable teachers to have a considered debate with their children and teens about issues of the day. The children then vote, and their voice goes on to impact practice and policy.

ParentShield was delighted to be able to respond to the question, “Would you feel safer with an under-16s phone?” There were 57,000 votes on this question, and you can see the results and our response here.

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