Report – Safeguarding Stars and Audiences

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 11:02am by Zarin Virji

DSC_6072As children increasingly turn to social media and the internet to both consume and create content, are the current measures in place to safeguard them?


  • The internet was not fundamentally designed for kids
  • Help children to be resilient as they navigate digital platforms more successfully and less fearfully
  • ‘Screen-time’ is an out-dated concept. It is more important to consider the content and context of digital media use
  • Research suggests that parent-child joint media engagement has better outcomes for learning and safety


John Kent, consultant and mentor at The Human Digital Company, introduced the topic as a complicated landscape including content creators, parents, children and regulators.

Dan Berlinka, Screenwriter and Director at Kindle Entertainment, shared clippings from his award-winning show, ‘Dixi’, which dramatises real-life consequences of what we do online. The show sets up a two-way communication between real viewers and digital content. Through emotional engagement, viewers are learning about internet safety in a non-didactic manner.

Dylan Collins, CEO at SuperAwesome, has introduced kid safe advertising (certified by FTC), that does not collect data about children and ensures that ads are appropriate. His company adds a ‘safety’ watermark to apps.

Catherine McAllister, Head of Safeguarding at BBC Children’s, emphasised the BBC’s responsibility to nurture digital citizens of the future through the provision of trusted guidance to children and advice to parents. She spoke about the collaboration with other organisations such as Internet Matters to achieve this goal.

Gemma Johnson, CEO of, underlined the need for up-to-date advice to parents about supporting their children in the digital environment. Tweens are psychologically more vulnerable as they are driven to be risk-takers.

The session came to a close as Dr. Alicia Blum-Ross, Research officer in Media and Communication at LSE, shared some insights from her research, ‘Preparing for a Digital Future’. Digital resources provide opportunities for learning, connecting, creating and employment despite concerns about privacy, legality, commerce and unwanted contact and content.

The role of parents is not primarily to police children’s screen time but to open a dialogue, sharing their own negative experiences of the internet with children (

A policy brief was circulated in draft form at the event has now been finalised. It responded to the discussion in May and the very helpful feedback. A summary blog post can be seen here:

What and how should parents be advised about ‘screen time’?

Blog Event Reports CMC2016 safeguarding stars and audiences

Zarin Virji

About the author

Zarin Virji

University of Sheffield, Student

Zarin Virji's twin passions are teaching and writing. She has been a teacher, head teacher and teacher trainer for the past 25 years in Mumbai, India. At present she is studying Creative Writing at the University of Sheffield, UK Read more