An Elland mum has achieved the second highest mark in university graduations and is set to carry out research into parental attitudes to the internet.
Lindsey Emerton is convinced that, for the sake of their development, children need to be playing and socialising, not slumped in front of a TV screen or surfing the web.
Now, after achieving exceptionally high marks in her University of Huddersfield degree studies, she is poised to carry out postgraduate research that will probe and analyse parental attitudes to the internet.
It will lead to a Master’s degree, to complement the BA in Early Years that she has just been awarded, scoring First Class Honours with ultra-high average marks of 89.2 per cent, the second best of the academic year and qualifying her for a University of Huddersfield Chancellor’s Prize.
For Lindsey, a former riding instructor who became a primary school teaching assistant at Ferney Lee School in Todmorden, her success has revealed an aptitude and passion for academic work, which she now builds on with her MA project.
It will deal with the interaction between parents and child internet safety organisations and she will gather data via questionnaires and interviews, analysing her findings in a thesis.
The project has emerged from her own experiences and from conversations with other parents at the Todmorden primary school.
“Children nowadays are what we call digital natives. They have been brought up in the internet age, whereas their parents haven’t, so there is a generational gap, with parents being left behind,” said Lindsey, who had a long spell teaching riding at an equestrian centre in Norland, near Halifax.
She will investigate the issue and the various initiatives, such as the Government’s own Parent Port, designed to ensure that children are not exposed to disturbing images and information on the web. But Lindsey also has a wider agenda.
“There are serious issues such as violent images and grooming via social networks, but on top of that, children are meant to go outside and play together,” she said.
“The benefits of play far outrun anything they can learn from the internet or watching television. Children are meant to be social creatures and the skill to be able to converse with somebody is learned at a very young age.”
Lindsey, aged 39, is equipped for her new project by the range of subjects included in her Early Years course, a University of Huddersfield degree which she took at University Campus Barnsley, after studying for a Foundation Degree at Calderdale College.