Work began on this report into future technology and family life in late 2019, around the same time COVID-19 emerged. The home as the place families would stay in and do most everything from was no longer a prediction, it was to become an enforced reality for many.
Children, young people, technology thinkers, child safety experts and academics have all contributed, and together they suggest a family life where the home is even more central to our lives, as technology complements our desire to be ever more efficient, entertained and more widely connected. The report is richer for their contribution and we are indebted to them. Understanding how young people both use and think about technology has been critical in thinking through the issues raised in the report. Society needs our best thinkers working out how to enjoy the benefits of connected technology safely. The tech coming into our homes is designed precisely to be convenient, to entertain and perhaps to educate. With the deployment of home tech at scale comes a raft of safety and privacy concerns.
This report airs those issues – and acknowledges the reality that for many families, convenience trumps
online safety. That means its even more important that we all take seriously our shared responsibility to minimise the risks so that children can thrive online. That conversation has never been more necessary.
The report team
Professor Lynne Hall, Huawei, University of Sunderland and Internet Matters.