E-safety and Web 2.0 for children aged 11–16


Mike Sharples, University of Nottingham, Exchange Building, Jubilee Campus, Wollaton Road, Nottingham, NG8 1BB, UK. Email: mike.sharples@nottingham.ac.uk


Abstract  This paper reports findings from a survey and interviews with children aged 11–16 years, teachers and parents on their attitudes to e-safety in relation to social networking and media creation (Web 2.0) and their practices at school and at home. The results showed that 74% of the children surveyed have used social network (SN) sites and that a substantial minority regularly interact socially online with people they have not met face-to-face. Online interaction forms a different, although overlapping, social space to that of face-to-face friendships. Despite a desire from some teachers to explore the benefits of Web 2.0 for creative and social learning, they report being constrained by a need to show a duty of care that avoids worst-case risk to children, to restrict access to SN sites. The respondents also report more direct concerns about Internet bullying and exam cheating. We also report a Policy Delphi process with a panel of 30 people with expertise in Web 2.0 and e-safety. The panel reached a general consensus that schools should move towards allowing access to Web 2.0 sites, with children being educated in responsible and creative learning.