Security by Sector: Young Brits Call for Smartphone Policies and Social Media Lessons in Schools

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The subject of how information security impacts different industry sectors is an intriguing one. For example, how does the finance industry fare in terms of information security compared to the health sector, or the entertainment business? Are there some sectors that face greater cyber-threats and risks than others? Do some do a better job of keeping data secure, and if so, how and why?

Our last Security by Sector series piece focused on how the education system has become a highly sought after target sector for cyber-criminals. Well, we are staying with the same sector for this latest instalment in the Security by Sector series, but this time, exploring a different angle.

With the academic year just about to get underway, young people have called for changes in how technology is tackled in schools. According to research from Nominet, 60% of 18 to 24-year-olds think there should be a national policy on limiting access to smartphones and social media in schools, with 68% also stating lessons on how to safely use social media and messaging apps should be included in the national curriculum.

The findings from Nominet highlight just how much young people’s lives are being impacted by technology – and not always in a good way. For example, over half of the 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed believed that social media negatively affects children, with 30% of the respondents admitting they had been bullied on social media or know somebody that has (65%). What’s more, almost three-quarters said social media is driving fake news, and 55% stated that social media is creating more social and political divides in society than not.

Banning, or limiting access to smartphones during the school day, and providing lessons on the pitfalls of social media could help alleviate some of the bullying, mental health and societal issues many young people are worried about, the research suggested.

Russell Haworth, CEO, Nominet said: “Technology evolves at such a rate that it can be hard to keep track of exactly how it’s affecting our day to day lives. However among us, young people – who have never known a time without the internet – have unique insights into how we can make it work better for everyone. We must learn from those who’ve navigated the pros and cons of growing up with technology and understand its impact, and who are now able to impart their knowledge for benefit of other young people.”

Smartphone and social media access within schools is an interesting subject and one worthy of discussion, particularly in light of recent reports of leaked documents that reveal new education measures to be announced that include potential bans on mobile phones.

Matt Jones, principal, Ark Globe Academy, Southwark added: “Today’s online world is presenting our students with challenges and opportunities many of us could never have dreamed of when we were in education. It’s crucial that we do more to consider how technology is affecting them and that we listen to their ideas on how we can make technology a positive experience for everyone.”

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