This initiative originates from our own experience as parents of young children. Our children have used smartphones and tablets with our supervision from age two on.
While we believe it is essential to provide children with access to skills they will need for growing up in a digital world, we are very cautions about limiting this experience. This is related to time spent with the mobile device as well as control over the content that our children have access to.
Going through this learning experience together with our children we grew concerned how little effective controls are in place to protect children with out of the box smartphones and tablets. This triggered intense discussions with other families and research for possible technical solutions as well as expert advice.
The result is: as of today there is very little clear scientifically backed guidance on use of mobile devices by small children leaving parents to resort to common sense. On the technical side we have not found a single satisfying solution to provide a child safe environment for standard smart phones and tablets. The controls are either too tight or to loose. And we know the extent of the risks that children are exposed to increases dramatically with age.
While traveling through Southeast Asia we were able to observe a great part of family life taking place in the street and public. Our observation was that the use of mobile devices by young children was omnipresent. It took this trip to make us realize the global scale: child safe use of mobile devices is a global issue. And it is currently insufficiently addressed.
Maria Luisa Cabeza Irisarri
and Martin Wirsing