Invisibly Blighted

The digital erosion of childhood

Paperback / softback, 126 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
27 Mar 2017

Price: £19.99

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Children carry the weight of other people's expectations on their shoulders, and in the technological age that represents a bigger burden than it ever has before. This book is a manifesto for a different digital future for children, in which their rights are respected and their identities are free. We explore new ways of understanding children's risk, schooling, biometrics, privacy issues and technology innovation. Aimed at anyone who has sensed the cultural shift in childhood currently taking place, this book helps readers think more deeply about what it means to be a child in the digital world today.

  • Sandra Leaton Gray

    Sandra Leaton Gray is Senior Lecturer in Education at the UCL Institute of Education.

  • Andy Phippen

    Andy Phippen is Professor of Children and Technology at the Plymouth University Business School.

CONTENTS: 1. What is childhood?; 2. How risky is it to be a child? Towards a sociology of uncertainty; 3. Identity and biometrics: Convenience at the cost of privacy in English schools; 4. Being safe online: The UK education system and safeguarding; 5. The new normal? Sexting as a case study of children’s risk and stakeholder response; 6. A safeguarding dystopia; 7. A manifesto; References; Index

'I recommend it for school leaders, safeguarding officers, parents, teacher book clubs.'

Cath Murray, Reviewed in Schools Week

'The overlap between childhood and new digital playgrounds - and the challenges therein- is one of the most important new spaces for us to clarify, analyse and map, and Sandra Leaton Gray is one of our most readable, informed and convincing navigators. This book contributes enormously to our understanding of the perils, opportunities and implications that face our children and their adult counterparts.'

Tom Bennett, Founder of researchED, author, and behaviour adviser to the Department for Education

'Invisibly Blighted touches a nerve with a sharp analysis of our digitized society from the point of view of a child. How risky is it to be a child? How does childhood fit within a highly technological society? Should parents respect the digital privacy of their children? How should we deal with sexting? The authors reflect on these issues with wit and heart, defining what it means to be human in a digital world.'

Dr Kari Kivinen, Head of the Lycée franco-finlandais d’Helsinki and the former Secretary-General of the European Schools

'The way any society prepares and cares for its children is one of its toughest tests. In the twenty-first century, ideas about childhood, about what it means to be a child, are shifting as a result of rapid social, demographic and technological change. This book asks profound questions about how we discharge our responsibilities to children, and how we prepare them as the citizens of the future.'

Professor Chris Husbands, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University

'This book has the rare combination of plain language and real-world examples that can bring up to speed those of us interested in the impact of digital technology on childhood without making us feel old or out-of-date. It also doesn't shy away from difficult issues, meaning the read isn't always comfortable, but it's always fascinating.'

Laura McInerney, Editor, Schools Week

'This book is a timely examination of the new challenges facing children in a digital world. Parents, teachers and policymakers are all struggling to keep up with reality and would do well to read and debate what is covered here. As a legislator, I am grateful for the insights leading me to want a more sustainable balance between education and prohibition if we are to better support children.'

Lord Knight, Minister for Work and Pensions, 2009-10