John Lewis has become the first department store in the UK to offer specialist advice to families on internet safety. The move comes after this was highlighted as a top concern by customers with children.
We are partnering with leading online safety organisation, Internet Matters this summer to train Partners across all 34 of our shops, to become experts in family technology. They’ll help to support both parents and carers with the safe and secure set up and use of electronic devices.
Our specialist Partners will be ready to offer guidance for ‘new term’ purchases in September – traditionally a time when many parents invest in their child’s first laptops, tablets or phones.
The Partners will have the skills to equip parents and carers with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to benefit children safely from connected tech. They will be able to give in person advice on new (and previous) purchases such as setting tech devices up safely, developing healthy gaming habits, balancing screen time, creating a positive digital footprint and using tech to support digital wellbeing.
A recent survey of 1000 parents conducted by John Lewis reveals that parents expected to purchase their child a phone at the age of twelve (29%) when they start secondary school, yet in reality they are purchasing them much younger. Parents answered that the reason for this is for communication purposes (65%), safety (58%) and friendships (38%). In addition, our customer research shows that 92% of customers who have children at home say that they think parents should limit the time their child(ren) spend(s) on social media, with 84% thinking that social media is changing the way we interact with each other.
The survey results also showed that over two thirds (67%) of parents’ biggest concern when their child uses an electronic device is internet safety. With 58% wanting to learn more about safety features on their child’s electronic devices.
Charlotte Lock, customer director at John Lewis, said: “We know that internet safety is really important to our customers with children – so we are equipping our Partners nationwide with the specialist knowledge, tools and skills to support them. Our technology departments have always strived to offer great customer care, service and expertise. It’s clear that a child’s first step into the digital world is a big milestone – so we are helping our customers to navigate this moment safely and confidently.”
Carolyn Bunting MBE, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “We’re thrilled that John Lewis has chosen to join our coalition of partners, supporting our vision to create a future where children can benefit safely from connected tech. Much of our work centres on helping parents and carers feel equipped to support their children’s digital lives as they grow – and thanks to John Lewis’ commitment, we will be able to further our efforts to reach even more families with the tools and advice they need.”
In addition to specialist Partners, any Partner in our technology department will be able to assist with training, with all shop-floor Partners having a basic understanding on internet safety, with access to Internet Matters online training and the knowledge to direct customers to for further help.