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Tech Shock - from Parent Zone
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Tech Shock - from Parent Zone

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Welcome to ‘Tech Shock’ – the new podcast from Parent Zone! Vicki Shotbolt and Geraldine Bedell are your hosts, looking at how digital technology is affecting family life.  They’ll help explain its mysteries to parents, teachers, professionals and policymakers; looking at whether streaming platforms are encouraging young people to make porn, whether online lives are creating a generation of gamblers and whether there are too many men on the internet.  So subscribe now, rate the podcast, and give it a 5-star review – and keep listening every Monday morning for a new episode of ‘Tech Shock – from Parent Zone’.
25 Episodes
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Ellen Helsper, Professor of Digital Inequalities at LSE, about why giving children laptops isn’t enough.Talking points:- Why does social disadvantage so often turn into into digital disadvantage?- Will the gap between the digital haves and have-nots widen, stay the same, or get smaller as more people are exposed to tech?- Why have we been so bad at teaching children the real digital skills they need to thrive online?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Sarah Drummond of design agency Snook about baking safety into the design of tech products and services.Talking points:How far can designers affect our online experiences?The internet - as designed so far - doesn’t always seem to be in our best interests so why should we trust designers?'Safety tech’ implies bolting tools onto existing services - is there a better way of thinking about designing for safety?Is tech innovation possible without making mistakes?Could ’safer’ platforms and services become more attractive than those that prioritise persuasive design to keep us clicking?Further reading: Marc Goodman: Future Crimes, Inside the digital underground and the battle for our connected world (Transworld, 2015)
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Sam Gilbert, fintech entrepreneur, Cambridge researcher, and author of the radical new book, Good Data, about why he takes issue with the fashionable idea of surveillance capitalism.Talking points:How much does it matter that ‘our data’ is being collected?Is data actually ’the new oil’?How bad is online advertising really?Is the focus on privacy actually harming our ability to use data for public good?What would good use of data look like?
21: True or False?

21: True or False?


Vicki and Geraldine talk to Nicola Aitken of Full Fact about misinformation - and how we can possibly tell what’s true online.Talking points:Who is attracted to misinformation?What psychological needs do conspiracy theories meet?Can small fact-checking organisations such as Full Fact push back against the sheer volume of untruths online?Has disinformation become war by other means?What do we need to know to be more media literate?
20: Bot Detectives

20: Bot Detectives


Can machines make the online world a better place? Vicki and Geraldine talk to Ian Stevenson, CEO of OSTIA (the Online Safety Tech Industry Association) about whether a British innovation success can solve the problems of the internet.Talking points:- Will online safety tech inevitably compromise privacy?- Do we apply higher standards of privacy and free speech online to offline?- How big a threat to children’s safety is end-to-end encryption?- Will age verification result in a second-class internet for children?
19: Addicted!

19: Addicted!


Why are we facing a gambling - and now gaming - addiction crisis? Vicki and Geraldine talk to Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones, founder of the first NHS gambling disorders clinic and also the first NHS gaming disorders clinic.Talking points:Are there links between gambling and gaming?How come we don’t know how big a problem we’ve got?Gaming: a gateway to problem gambling?What does gaming disorder look like?A personal problem, affecting a minority of ‘vulnerable’ people? Or a public health issue?
The UK is trying to regulate the internet - but much will depend on what happens globally. Vicki and Geraldine talk to Max Beverton-Palmer of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change about how much we can seriously do by ourselves.Talking points:Why is 2021 the year of rethinking the internet?Will a plethora of national initiatives lead to the so-called splinternet?To what extent can national regulation work when tech companies have global reach?Will children's rights to participate online be damaged by the rush to keep them safe?How do you start to think about an ethical internet?
Lockdown learning has deepened and sharpened inequality. Vicki and Geraldine talk to Rebecca Montacute of the Sutton Trust about whether we can fix that.Talking points:Why do so many children still not have devices?Why are they still not connected?Will there be more blended learning in future?Can the National Tutoring programme help students catch up?What can we do about 16-19-year-olds, who are in many ways the worst affected?How would we reopen schools (given that we are not epidemiologists)?
As the UNHCR announces that children’s rights apply online, Vicki and Geraldine talk to Tony Stower of 5Rights about what that means for for tech companies, policymakers and parents.Talking points:- How is it helpful to view online harms through the lens of children’s rights?- How do you manage competing rights using the blunt instruments of legislation?- Why has children’s data been overlooked until recently in the harms debate?- Why is end-to-end encryption absolutely terrible for child safety?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Andy Robertson, author of Taming Gaming.Talking points:- Should parents stop worrying about the time children spend gaming?- Can parents learn to love video games?- Should games provide endless opportunities for spending?- Does publishing the odds of loot boxes in video games make them any less like gambling?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Dave Coplin, self proclaimed pragmatic optimist, about why we shouldn’t be scared of tech.Talking points:What to do about big data?Can we solve algorithmic bias?Are old ways of thinking stopping us from making the most of the digital future?How can human beings get their act together to use tech for good?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Chi Onwurah, Shadow Minister for Science, Research and Digital about digital poverty, the impact of social media on democracy, and whether we should feel positive about Britain’s tech future.Talking points:- Should we be treating laptops like textbooks and data as a utility?- What happened to targets for digital inclusion?- Who has the right to ban Donald Trump?- Can the duty of care get beyond platforms marking their own homework?- How do we become creators of technology as well as users of it?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Tom Rose of Oak National Academy about what we need to do next to ensure children get the best online learning.Talking pointsShould we have been doing blended learning sooner?What can we do about digital poverty and lack of devices?What is the latest news on giving children free access to educational sites, if they’re using phones to connect?Should Ofsted be inspecting schools’ digital provision?What is the future of online learning, post-pandemic?
Vicki and Geraldine round up a digital year like no other and look at the government’s end-of-year proposals for regulating the internet.Talking points:What have been the big issues for families online in 2020?The government has announced its latest proposals for regulating tech companies - are they the right ones?What can we expect from 2021?Thanks ago so much for all your help this year. It’s been really fun. Have a lovely, if somewhat reduced, Christmas, and a happy new year - and look forward to picking up the podcast again in 2021,
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Professor Helen Bedford of Great Ormond Street about online anti-vaccination campaigns and what they mean for the Covid vaccination rollout.Talking points:Has there always been resistance to vaccination?Why does social media make things so much worse?Has vaccination been co-opted into the culture wars?Is it enough to tell people the facts?Can scientists beat the anti-vaxxers on their own ground?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Joe Mulhall of 'Hope Not Hate' about the threat of the far-right online.Talking points:- are different types of platform are facilitating hate speech in different ways?- are there limits to free speech?- is it reasonable to expect platforms to design out hate, given the needs of the online attention economy?- how should the government regulate, and who else needs to be involved?
This week, Vicki and Geraldine talk to Professor Sonia Livingstone about her book, Parenting for a Digital Future.Talking points:Why do parents worry so much about screen time?Should children be learning to code?Parents are stuck in a giant digital parenting experiment - but is it the same experiment for everyone?
This week, Vicki and Geraldine talk about screen time and other guilt-inducing aspects of family life online.Talking points:Why is play not seen as play when it’s online?Is it just that the technology’s new?Has parenting itself changed in ways that make parents feel more guilty?Why do parents feel they’re mainly - even solely - responsible for what their children get up to online?Is 'safety tech' going to solve the problems of feeling out of control?Can legislation help to take away some parental guilt?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Casey Calista from Glitch, whose recent research found that online abuse of women and non-binary people increased during lockdown.Why is online abuse not seen as real abuse? Is the answer more women in STEM? What are the implications for democracy? And whose responsibility is it to put things right?
Vicki and Geraldine talk to Will Perrin of Carnegie UK Trust about the upcoming (sometime soon!) Digital Harms Bill. What are the ideas behind the government’s proposals? Will they work? Talking points:Where does the idea of a ‘duty of care’ on which the legislation will be based come from?What does it cover - and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t it cover?Are we agreed about what is harmful?How can global tech companies be persuaded to comply?
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