Today is Safer Internet Day. This year’s topic is ”It’s more than a game, it’s your life” and the aim of the initiative is to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children. The website reports some interesting statistics:
- Gamers spend on average 8 hours weekly playing online.
- Young people sleep 2 to 3 hours less per night than 10 years ago.
- In January 2010, 18 million accounts were registered on Second Life.
- Facebook reports more than 500 million active users.
- Users spend 700 billion minutes on Facebook each month.
- 13 million players of World of Warcraft (WoW), the world’s largest MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game).
- MMORPGs generated $1.5 billion in subscription revenues worldwide in 2008, forecast to reach $2.5 billion by 2012.
- Up to 250,000 players are simultaneously online on WoW.
- Transactions and sales of virtual goods in virtual worlds were estimated at $18 billion in 2009.
Its is amazing but I can identify with many of these bullet points. My kids spend far more than 8 hours online playing MMORPGs (it is a truly great acronym). All my kids are on Facebook even though two of them are below the recommended age limit. I vet their friends lists and have the logon details of the youngest who is not allowed to post photos. All his spare cash goes on online games – and we are talking £40 a pop here which is truly irritating as a parent (thats about fifteen pints of beer in real money! 🙂 ).
Parents need to jointly develop a survival strategy here. It only takes one to let the side down and let their kids have free rein to spoil it for the lot of us.
Note in connection with Safer Internet Day, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, published the results of two complementary surveys that indicate that only 21% of UK individuals who live in a household with dependent children use parental control filtering software. This is higher than the EU average of 14% but considerable lower than the results of the EU Kids Online survey that was published a couple of weeks ago and reported that 54% of UK parents (28% across the EU) use parental controls or other means of blocking or filtering some types of websites.
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) has published a “Good practice guidance for the moderation of interactive services for children” which you might want to take a look at.
Publicising Safer Internet Use is very important and I suggest more needs to be done to educate parents on what they might be able to do to help themselves. This is particularly important in the light of the fact that politicians are constantly trying to take control of the internet “for our own good“.
PS one fact that coaught my attention in the EU report was that in the EU2 in 2010, almost one third of individuals (31%) who used the internet in the 12 months prior to the survey reported that they caught a virus or other computer infection resulting in loss of information or time during this period.
PPS thanks to ISPA for drawing my attention to these data.
And finally – I have to say were are entering a truly great era for acronyms – MMORPG!!!!!