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Smart Living | 14 Jan 2020

The ‘Grandma Test’: Would your children pass it?

We caught up with former Spice Girls singer Emma Bunton, her husband Jade and children Beau and Tate, to discuss their family tech habits as part of our Digital Family Pledge campaign. Do they plan to make any changes for 2020?

Emma Bunton made an embarrassing slip-up recently when she sent a saucy text intended for her husband…to her mother instead. She was mortified.

But let’s be honest, we’ve probably all sent messages to the wrong person sometimes.

Emma admits that tech isn’t her strongest suit.

“I find social media, online content and devices very confusing,” she says, “but my other half is quite good, so he helps me a lot. And my children, dare I say it, are probably even better than I am.”

According to YouGov research, nearly half of parents say better knowledge of technology would help them to have more useful conversations with their children.

“With social media, I’m good at posting and I have a bit of fun with it,” says Emma, “but when it comes to anything technical it’s a toughie. I need help.”

She also knows that it’s easy to over-share if you’re not careful. Emma explained she was very conscious of keeping her family’s life as private as possible, but also wanted to share some moments with her fans and followers.

“I’m very proud of my family, so we do love to put a few pictures up, but it’s definitely about balance,” she reflects.

Jade and Emma looking at the Digital Family Pledge on a tablet
Jade and Emma go through Vodafone’s Digital Family Pledge on a tablet, before having a family discussion

Vodafone’s Digital Family Pledge encourages families to discuss how they use technology and agree some house rules. These can be anything from committing to specific times for gaming, charging your phone outside of the bedroom, say, or simply agreeing what acceptable online behaviour looks like.

Honest discussion

The intention of the Pledge, which Emma and her family endorse, is to encourage families to talk openly about their tech habits and what they can change to make a positive impact on their lives. Because YouGov research has revealed that a worrying 65% of parents have no idea what their children are doing online.

The Pledge provides expert advice on four hot topics: screen time, being kind online, social media, and gaming.

Jade persuaded the children to agree to the “Grandma Test” – which means that before they post anything online Beau and Tate need to think if they would be comfortable showing it to their Grandma first. If they aren’t comfortable, they shouldn’t post it.

Emma Bunton and family discuss the Digital Family Pledge

Credits: © Andrew Fosker / Pinpep

Credits: © Andrew Fosker / Pinpep
The Digital Family Pledge helps families have discussions they might not have had before

With the Christmas holidays now done and dusted, and new gadgets no doubt filling UK homes, it’s a good time to gather the family around and agree how you’ll use all this new tech. How long is too long online? Do you really know who you’re talking to? Is that a nice comment to make about someone’s Instagram photo?
The Bunton-Jones family pledged that in 2020 they would not to be on their phones when they’re speaking with each other; to share more of what they’re doing online with each other; and to have an hour of screen-free time before bed.

Every family’s pledge will be different, so you can tailor it to what suits you.

“Doing the Digital Family Pledge has really opened my eyes,” Emma says. “As a family, we’ve had a proper conversation about how we use our devices, and what we do online.

“All parents worry about their children daily, and I used to worry about how much time they spend on their devices. But I’ve learnt today it’s also about what they’re doing online and keeping them safe.”

Her advice is to “set ground rules as a family” and not dictate rules to your children. The process also helped her and Jade think about their own habits and what they could be doing differently.

The Pledge can be found on Vodafone’s Digital Parenting website, which aims to help families live a safe digital life.

  • Click  here  for the full press release.