Birmingham expert warns childhood could become a casualty of digital platforms

A Birmingham expert has warned digital connectivity may come at the cost of a traditional childhood after the results of a new survey were revealed.

The report reveals the outcome of a study of 2,000 internet users by the international Screen Society project.

Earlier this month it was revealed that a five-year-old boy had become the youngest person investigated for ‘sexting’.

Professor Elis Cashmore, a member of the research team and a visiting professor at Aston University, said the study showed how digital platforms had the potential to change childhood for millions.

“The internet is a priceless gift for children – it is probably the greatest learning tool since the book,” he said. “Children can access a world of wonder at the stroke of a keypad. But it may come with a price.

“If children have access to sexual material, they seem to want to use it – even if they don’t understand it.

“There are controls, but how effective are they? The wider ramifications are going to be felt in a few years’ time and make us wonder whether childhood is the biggest casualty of the screen society.”

People can contribute to the latest stage of the Screen Society research project online.

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