IFFOR Policy Council meeting, 15 May 2020


  • Fiona Alexander
  • Chad Anderson
  • Sharon Girling
  • Kieren McCarthy
  • Emily Taylor

The previous meeting’s minutes were approved.

The work framework that comprises three main components – graphics, a searchable database and gap analysis – was discussed. 

On the possibility of creating a publicly available and searchable database that would link to other guides and cover the full range of issues around online learning and parental controls, it was decided that approach would likely take up a long of available resources for limited impact. 

It would be difficult and time-consuming to keep the database updated given the size and scope and how frequently tech companies update their services. An outdated database also risks wasting people’s time as the information they find may be out-of-date. In summary: a great idea but biting off more than we can chew. 

On the spreadsheet of different types of parental controls, it was agreed that the situation is very complicated – too complex to be able to reflect in its entirety. Controls will vary according to which device is being used, which app on that device, and then how that device connects to the internet – through which ISP or mobile operator. 

After running through several scenarios, it was decided the best approach would be to look at the most common use cases and use them to tell a story. Another solution may be to tell comparative stories: how one child, say, uploading a video, would face a very different situation to another doing the same thing but with a different ISP/device/app.

In order to decide on those top five or ten scenarios, we agreed to revise the survey – originally intended to gather an overall sense of concerns over online learning and parental controls – to pull out the most common use cases. 

As part of that survey, it was also decided it would be useful for parents to self-identify their level of technical competence, and to consider the fact that different people will have greater controls of specific parental controls – for example, parents may have more control over their router or the browser used, but far less control over the application that a child uses. Likewise neither of them may feel that have any control over ISP controls. 

Other questions to be included: parental concerns; age ranges of children; a clear note that the survey covers child online learning, as opposed to recreational use by either child or adult.

Next steps

  • Rework the survey to draw out common use cases