O2 launches Guru Bytes workshops: A quarter of parents would struggle to complete tasks expected of five year olds under new computing curriculum

  • Majority of parents unaware that the computing curriculum is radically changing from September
  • Three quarters (72%) of parents are desperate to improve their digital skills so they can better support their children’s learning
  • O2 launches innovative high street initiative that promises to help parents keep pace with the fast changing digital world
  • Free workshops will be available in up to 100 O2 stores by spring 2015 to help boost digital confidence and competence

As primary and secondary schools across the country begin to teach the ambitious new computing curriculum from this week, an investigation by O2 reveals that many parents don’t feel informed or prepared for the significant changes ahead.

The updated curriculum, now taught to children as young as five, has been designed to equip the next generation with essential skills to succeed in the digital age. Of the 2,000 parents polled by O2,almost two thirds (64%) didn’t know about the radical changes to the computing curriculum and one third (33%) admitted they are worried they wouldn’t be able to adequately support their children with their computing homework.

In fact, when tested against the new computing curriculum,a significant number of parents admitted they didn’t think they could complete tasks expected of five year-olds:

  • Almost two thirds (63%) admit they don’t understand what an algorithm is
  • A third (32%) admitted they cannot use technology to create, organise or store digital content.

The poll also showed that despite many parents being concerned that they lack the necessary digital ‘know how’ to support their children’s development, the overwhelming majority are eager to learn. Indeed, almost three quarters (72%) of parents said they want help to improve their digital skills so that they can better support their children’s learning.

In response, from today O2 is launching a phased rollout of digital workshops in O2 stores across the country, with the aim of launching in up to 100 locations by spring 2015. The workshops, called Guru Bytes, will be run by O2 Gurus who already provide a wealth of advice and support to customers on getting the most from their digital technology. The Guru Bytes workshops will cover two key topics – how to keep your family safe online and discovering the web:

1. Keeping your family safe online

In partnership with the NSPCC & DigitalMe, O2’s Digital Family workshop includes support on how to set up safety features, how to keep information private and where to go for help if things go wrong. In addition, parents are being encouraged to bring phones, laptops or tablets for O2 Gurus to practically demonstrate safety tips.

2. Discovering the web

Suitable for ages 11 and upwards, O2’s Discover the Web workshop has been designed for parents and children to learn about the power of the web side-by-side. Content includes the opportunity to create and edit a webpage or design and build an app, and can be completed on a personal device or one made available by O2.

Ronan Dunne, CEO at O2 said: “A new computing curriculum fit for the 21st century is a step in the right direction for young people. Young people are brilliant. They are brave, ambitious and possess native digital talent that we need to nurture. Much is already being done across the UK to nurture that talent, but a greater emphasis must be applied to the support network to allow them to put their digital expertise to practical use.

“Simply put, more needs to be done to help parents get to grips with the fast-changing world of digital technology. What’s clear from the research is that many parents are crying out for a helping hand. That’s why we’re launching Guru Bytes in communities across the UK. It is our hope that these free sessions will help parents and young people feel more confident in the digital world.”

Claire Lilley, Head of Online Safety at the NSPCC, said: “For children and young people, the Internet is part of everyday life, rather than being a separate online world. It is crucial that parents are involved right from the start of their children’s digital journey and feel confident about guiding and protecting them as their online footprint grows into their teenage years.

“We know some parents would like and need help getting to grips with the latest technology and digital environment, and we’re proud to have helped O2 to develop their Guru Bytes workshops launching in communities across the UK from this September.”

O2 already offers a range of advice and support to help customers navigate their digital lives safely.

For more information, visit http://www.o2.co.uk/help/everything-else/digital-family.