Are young people being held hostage by smart devices?

A new report published by the Youth Sports Trust has revealed that nearly 25% of children consider playing video games as a form of exercise.

Nearly 75% of young people have access to games consoles, and daily screen time eclipses activity time with young people averaging close to 3 hours per day using technology.

Amongst 11 year olds, 70% say they watch YouTube, 15% log into Facebook and 11% post on Instagram.

Ali Oliver, chief exec of the YST, says that the digital revolution presents opportunities and challenges with young people “potentially held hostage” to their handheld devices.

The trust has called for more PE and technology integration in schools, and the government has provided £300m in funding earmarked to “prioritising PE” and improving school sport.

Some 75% of the five to 16 year olds surveyed say they enjoy PE at school and two-thirds feel better after taking part in sport.

Edward Timpson, the Children’s Minister, is encouraged that the research shows millions of young people are enjoying PE lessons. “[PE] remains a government priority,” he said.

But the report says that there is “no resisting” the march of technology and in order to get children active a more holistic approach to PE is needed. It recommends one which “integrates technology and the delivery of a seamless, intuitive and digitally enhanced form of physical activity.”

Some believe there is a block in teachers using technology in lessons due to a lack of training or software comprehension. A college worker has described that some lecturers “just don’t want to know” about using animations or apps.

Others note that technology has been historically blamed as leading to sedentary lifestyles: books, radio, TV, video games and now smart devices face criticism despite it being difficult to pin-point their attributions to overall physical wellbeing.

One parent notes that it would not be difficult to create parental controls to deactivate devices remotely. “[The report] clearly signals that action is needed now to modernise approaches,” says Oliver.

Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System

Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System

Jonathan Bishop


Research on digital addiction has been increasing significantly since the start of the 2010s. What is not currently available is a measurement scale to assess the extent to which adolescents are at risk of abuse on the Internet that might lead them to develop digital addiction. This chapter sets out to develop a check-list that can be used to risk assess those youths who might be at risk of digital addiction. Through using data from a study into 1,828 young people aged 9-16, the study devised a 6-point check-list based on using a t-test to determine those at high risk and those at low risk. The check-list can be seen as a reliable way for screening those adolescents for whom concerns are raised over their online activities. The chapter concludes that further research will be needed to test the scale with people in older age ranges.

Full Text


Jonathan Bishop (2015). Determining the Risk of Digital Addiction to Adolescent Targets of Internet Trolling: Implications for the UK Legal System. In J. Bishop (Ed.), Psychological and Social Implications Surrounding Internet and Gaming Addiction (pp. 31-42). IGI Global, Hershey, PA. Available online at:

Jonathan Bishop speaks at E-Society Conference 2015

INVITED SPEAKER: Jonathan Bishop is pictured here with Piet Kommers following his invited speech. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.
INVITED SPEAKER: Jonathan Bishop is pictured here with Piet Kommers following his invited speech. Courtesy: Jonathan Bishop Limited.

The invited talk of Internet trolling and cyber-stalking expert, Jonathan Bishop, has been welcomed by attendees at the E-Society conference in Madeira.

Jonathan Bishop’s invited speech, ‘The Misrepresentation of Digital Teens as Trolls: Considering Political, News and Feminist Agendas,’ broke down the myths that lead to young people, especially young males, being blamed for trolling when the reality tells a different story.

Piet Kommers is one of the conference organisers. “One of the challenging presentations during the late e-society conference was the invited lecture by Jonathan Bishop who brought attention to the aspect of negative side effects of web-based networks and social media like blogging and Twitter,” he said. “In fact the research finds trolls are as likely to be men or women, and they will change the way they troll based on their target, meaning feminists deemed misandrist will face sexist posts including from women, but the same trolls, regardless of their sex, would have used racist remarks if the feminists calling for more rights for women were Black and calling for more rights for Black people.
“It is my impression that his work opens a new paradigm on how to moderate web-based communication further.”

Digital Teens and the ‘Antisocial Network’: Prevalence of Troublesome Online Youth Groups and Internet trolling in Great Britain

Digital Teens and the ‘Antisocial Network’: Prevalence of Troublesome Online Youth Groups and Internet trolling in Great Britain

Jonathan Bishop


A concern shared among nearly all generations of adults is that they must do something to tackle the problems in society caused by young people. They often forget that they were once young, and all too often blame young people for all of problems in their community. This paper challenges this view and shows how the blaming of Internet trolling on today’s young people – called digital teens – is probably inaccurate. What might otherwise be called Troublesome Online Youth Groups (TOYGs), this paper looks at data collected from subjects in three UK regions (n=150 to 161), which includes young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). Unlike might be typically thought, the data shows that far from these NEETs being the causes of Internet trolling it is in fact the areas with high levels of productivity, higher education and higher intelligence that report lower perceptions of quality of life that these electronic message faults (EMFts) most occur in.

Full Text


Jonathan Bishop (2014). Digital Teens and the ‘Antisocial Network’: Prevalence of Troublesome Online Youth Groups and Internet trolling in Great Britain. International Journal of E-Politics 5(3), pp.1-15. Available online at:

Trolling laws ‘sufficient’ say Lords

A House of Lords inquiry in relation to the statutory and common law offences that can be used to prosecute offences arising out of social media has found that existing laws in the UK are sufficient enough to deal with the problem.

The Communications Committee looking into the issue said, however,  whilst the law can deal with Internet trolling and cyberbullying, greater clarity is needed from the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the prosecution of a group of people known as Porn E-Vengers who post private pictures of their former partners online.

Lord Best is chairman of the committee. “Cyber bullying, revenge porn, trolling and virtual mobbing are new phrases in our media vocabulary, but they generally describe behaviour that is already criminal,” he said. “Although anonymity has a valuable place when using social media – enabling human rights workers and journalists working in conflict areas to communicate with the outside world, for example – its negative effects when used as a shield for offenders to hide behind should be addressed.
“We need to be careful: we need to balance people’s right to freedom of expression with implementing the criminal law, whether the offences are committed online or off-line. It’s a complex subject, but we feel that legislation as it currently exists is generally fit for purpose and doing the job, even though it was drafted before the social media were first invented.”

Internet trolling expert, Jonathan Bishop, of the Trolling Academy in Swansea, agreed. “I am glad that the Communications Committee came to the same conclusion as me that the existing laws are tough enough,” he said. “A lot of the submissions to the committee were on presentation issues – whether the current laws are in the public consciousness enough – and even I would say some of the most severe trolling offences, like the ones that lead to suicide, need to be re-branded, such as being named ‘manslaughter.'”

Lord Best said social media platforms and parents have a part to play in conveying that message, including to digital teens. “We encourage websites to speed up processing law enforcement requests for identities, to develop further their ability to monitor the use of their services and to build on the effectiveness of measures already in place to enable people using social media platforms to protect themselves,” he said. “Just as importantly, as well as the legal measures available to us, we must ensure that parents and schools are taking on board the extent of the problem.
“They need to make sure that children are taught – at home and in school – that being horrid, offensive and rude to people online is just as wrong as it would be to do it face-to-face.
“Educating the next generation about how they should behave in the technological world is as important as teaching them the rights and wrongs of how to behave in person.”

Pop star Jessie J supports North Yorkshire Police Anti Bullying Campaign

ANTI-BULLYING: Jessie J supports North Yorkshire Police Anti Bullying Campaign. Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi
ANTI-BULLYING: Jessie J supports North Yorkshire Police Anti Bullying Campaign. Courtesy: Eva Rinaldi

Pop star Jessie J gave her support to North Yorkshire Police’s Anti-Bullying Campaign when she performed at the Scarborough Open Air Theatre on Wednesday 25 June 2014.

Before the concert, three Police Officers from North Yorkshire Police met Jessie J in her dressing room where they discussed the importance of tackling bullying and their work with delivering on going anti-bullying messages to schools, youth clubs, guides and colleges.

During her performance Jessie J supported the North Yorkshire Police Anti-Bullying Campaign and wore their grey coloured wrist band which says ‘Be a Leader not a Follower‘ during the concert to show her backing.

The wrist bands were funded by a donation of £500 from the Richard Fox Memorial Fund and a £100 donation from Eastfield Parish Council. The wrist bands have been distributed to young people by North Yorkshire Police as an attempt to prevent bullying which includes cyber bullying.

During the concert, Jessie J explained to the audience that North Yorkshire Police had asked for her support with their ‘Anti-Bullying Campaign‘, before telling the audience that “It is not a campaign, It should be a way of life“.

Jessie J asked the audience to ‘think of others‘ and told a personal story of when she was bullied at a younger age and how she wrote songs and poems to cope with her feelings. The audience supported and continued to cheer whilst she performed her hit song ‘Who’s Laughing Now‘ which was written as a result of her own bullying experiences when her skin turned green as a side effect from medication to treat her heart condition.

PC Sara Widdrington is a Police Youth Officer for North Yorkshire Police. “We were delighted when Jessie J agreed to support our Anti-Bullying Campaign during her concert, her music and her genuine outlook in life is a true inspiration to us all,” she said. “Her support reinforces our message that bullying is a cowardly act and should not be tolerated.
Tackling bullying is everyone’s responsibility and if you know of anyone who is being bullied either verbally, physically or via electronic communications speak out and get some help.

We Don’t Do Politics: An Analysis and Discussion of Information Seeking Behaviour Research in Relation to the Net Generation

We Don’t Do Politics: An Analysis and Discussion of Information Seeking Behaviour Research in Relation to the Net Generation

Jonathan Bishop


Information Seeking Behaviour (ISB) is becoming an interesting topic, especially with the advancement of the World Wide Web and technologically enhanced data collection techniques. Differences between generations, such as the Net Generation and Baby Boomers are becoming more and more evident. The Net Generation have shown they are enjoying more public policy participation than ever before through the use of the Internet. Finding an overall methodology that takes into account this generation is therefore a challenge. This chapter applies a heuristic framework to a number of research papers on the Net Generation and ISBs in order to critically analyse and evaluate the information within it in order to gain an insight into the most effective approach to ISB research. Through interpreting these research papers, this chapter attempts to gauge the scope and develop an understanding of ISB research in relation to the Net Generation and discover the most effective methodological approach for the emerging discipline.


Jonathan Bishop (2014). We Don’t Do Politics: An Analysis and Discussion of Information Seeking Behaviour Research in Relation to the Net Generation. In J. Bishop (Ed.), Transforming Politics and Policy in the Digital Age (pp. 6-21). IGI Global, Hershey, PA.

Report on Mental Health and Addictions Services Released

An independent reviewer has released her report on child and adolescent mental health and addictions services in Halifax Regional Municipality.

The report prepared by Dr. Jana Davidson, a Canadian expert in children’s mental health, has 14 recommendations to improve access and quality of mental health and addictions services. “Improving upon the services already provided by the IWK Health Centre and Capital Health involves ensuring consistency and integration in the delivery of services, adopting a trauma informed approach to care, and an added effort to boost the number of clinical staff and physicians,” was how Davidson described the reports findings.

The main challenges outlined in her report include recruitment and retention of doctors, silos among those delivering services, and gaps in delivery of physical services for 17 to 19-year-olds. The Government of Nova Scotia supports the findings of the report, which impacts all areas where children and youth can access mental health services, including the province’s health, education, justice, and social systems. “Our goal is to improve mental health and addictions services for patients and the people who love them,” said Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine. “We are dealing with young people who need the best care possible. I know that Dr. Davidson’s report will help us to improve, and I thank her for her work.”

Work has already begun to address issues identified through the review. A new urgent care clinic recently opened at the IWK Heath Centre to help address the needs of children and youth who are not admitted but still require timely access to follow up care.

In addition, the province has been working to increase access to mental health and addictions services throughout Nova Scotia by expanding the Strongest Families program and the mental health crisis line to the entire province. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development also provides supports and is committed to reviewing recommendations relating to the SchoolsPlus program. “We are grateful to Dr. Davidson for her review of IWK services for children and youth experiencing mental illness,” said Anne McGuire, president and CEO, IWK Health Centre. “We will review the resulting recommendations in detail with leaders and clinicians within our Mental Health and Addictions program as part of our continual commitment to enhance the services we provide.”

The report was recommended following the external review of the Halifax Regional School Board’s handling of the Rehtaeh Parson’s case. Its scope was to focus on the policies, programs, and services related to mental health and addictions services for youth who are having difficulties with addictions, peer relationships, bullying, cyber-bullying, sexuality, and sexual assault.

Criticism over ‘cunning children’ comment

A Liberal Democrat Minister in the House of Lords has been criticised over comments where she called children ‘cunning’ in reference to the lack of awareness in their parents to know how to more carefully monitor their childrens’ technology use.

Susan Garden, Baroness Garden of Frognal
Susan Garden, Baroness Garden of Frognal pictured in Birmingham. Courtesy: Obtained from Wikipedia.

In response to a question by Labour member of the House of Lords, Baroness Massey of Darwen, about applying age restrictions to video games, Baroness Garden of Frognal said to the House: “The BBFC is indeed involved in this (media ratings). It has just become the independent reviewer of the content of mobile operators and, as the noble Lord says, there is some overlap between what goes on in the film industry and what goes on in the video games industry.
It is a question all the time of trying to keep one step ahead of cunning children, who have a tendency to be one step ahead of their parents.

Jonathan Bishop is a researcher in the areas of gamification and Digital Teens who runs the Free Digital Project ( and has developed approaches to automatically assign media ratings. “It is immoral for Baroness Garden to attack young people for doing what young people do – test the limits,” he said. “Responsibility for a child’s welfare should in the first instance be with their parents or guardians.
The role of the government should be to intervene only where the market is failing, and from my point of view, Internet security software is quite advanced, and making parents aware of its availability when accessing relevant public services would be the least invasive approach.
Current legislation is strong enough to prosecute people for online offences against children, and parliamentarians would do better to support research like what I am doing at Crocels, which will make Internet security software even more advanced, so it is possible for young people to be protected without them being blamed for acting on their natural curiosities when parents are already stretched in trying to have a life for themselves also.

Swansea Youths wanted for Free Speech project

The Swansea YMCA has announced that it is looking for Digital Teens between the ages of 18 and 30 to take part in a live television programme. The YMCA is working with the BBC’s Free Speech programme and wants Digital Teens who have experienced unemployment or problems with Internet safety to get in touch.

Jonathan Bishop of the Crocels Trolling Academy based within Swansea University said it is important for the issue of Internet safety to be raised. “BBC’s Free Speech programme will make a huge difference in informing debate and helping people realise that young people have opinions too,” he said. “Digital Teens do not think like older generations and hopefully this programme will help people understand that so that older people can help keep young people safe without expecting youths to think like them.”

Digital Teens between the ages of 18 and 30, who are prepared to share their problems with Internet safety and unemployment on the live show, which is due to take place in Swansea on February 13, are asked to get in touch with the programme by email at