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THE MOBILE INTERNET: FAMILY AND SOCIETY Thursday October 30th, 2008 Refers to access to the World Wide Web Using mobile devices such as cell phones, PDAs, and other portable gadgets connected to a public network. Mobile wireless modem, either integrated into a mobile phone or in an independent device Does not require a desktop computer, nor a fixed landline connection. Services on the Mobile Web can include capabilities that do not exist on the traditional Internet, such as SMS text messaging. The role of digital technology in families continues to grow Increasingly younger consumers have become mobile phone users The rise of family plans in some parts of the world and free phones with some packages The increasing feeling among parents that they should be able to reach their children at any time of the day The impact of advertising on television, internet and other forms of media that are readily available to children Parents giving in to demands by their children to own mobile internet devices Teens and their parents often have similar technology profiles in the gadgets they use and the frequency with which they use them. 89% of online teens say the internet and other devices in their lives like cell phones, iPods, and digital cameras make their lives easier. 71% of their parents say these technologies make their lives easier. The tech profile of parents and teens often mirror each other. Parents who use the internet frequently have teenage children who use the internet. Parents and spouses are using the internet and cell phones to create a “new connectedness” that builds on remote connections and shared internet experiences. A majority of parents with online teens still believe the internet is a beneficial factor in their children’s lives. There has been a decrease since 2004 in the number of parents who believe the internet is a good thing for their children. More parents are neutral about whether their children are positively affected by the internet. In most families, internet use is a subject of family rule-making and discussion. The content of web material, more than the time spent online, gets the most parental intervention. Pew Internet & American Life Project Parents and Teens Survey, October-November 2006. surveyed 935 parents and youth in their families aged 12 to 17 years Increase closeness in families via: Cell phone and email access Text messaging Families have access to information more easily and readily Can do research and compare products online and purchase at the click of a button Useful in today’s fast paced life and saves time Educational advantages: Research for school assignments Homework posted online Access to schools and students worldwide Use of multimedia to teach Access to advice and assistance in academics and family issues Busy and tech-using families are less likely to share meals and less likely to report satisfaction with their leisure time. Easily reached by Advertisers - increasingly using the mobile Web as a platform to reach consumers. Mobile advertising may not be viewed as helpful -- or even wanted. Influencing spending and budgeting – purchasing items not really needed. Effect on children – developing culture of consumerism. The ability of advertisers to reach out to children and interact with them through their cell phones has raised concerns from the perspective of consumers, and of course, parents. There be some rules - guidelines for the mobile space – when it comes to children. The age issue in the mobile realm is in many ways an extension of concerns about protecting children on the Web. We need more ways in which parents can regulate children’s mobile activities, such as the ability to turn off Internet access, filter Web content and block unwanted calls or text messages.