Haverstock Series: Anne Longfield OBE


Anne Longfield, OBE, is the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Haverstock is a co-educational school in Camden Town, North London. Producing political heavyweights including the likes of Ed Miliband, it is not a school that should be cantankerously dismissed. Students are engaged, well informed and mean business. This is the latest in a series of contributions from their students.

A mother sleeps at night with computer screens strapped to her body, a desperate effort to stop her son playing computer games, her son is so obsessed with his computer game’s he even refuses to stop to eat!

A futuristic fantasy feature film?

No, on the morning, we met Anne Longfield OBE, England’s Commissioner for Children (AL), the World Health Organisation announced that the boy was the first to be a recognised addict of computer gaming, and his obsession with computer games could now be treated as a serious addiction, like drugs.

We were a bit concerned – would Computer Gaming be banned?

Anne Longfield: I try not to say that things should be banned, However, I want the gaming industry to be more responsible – I want kids to have more understanding and information. So you can decide whether it is a good thing to be on the computer or not and manage your time better and I want the parents to know.

Q: You have also spoken out about the addictiveness of social media aspects like Streaks. What measures would you like to see in place for future generations?

AL: I want the social media internet giants that make games for adults, to be no longer subject young people to all the things that make them addictive. The social media companies are saying these platforms are not suitable for children under 13, so I want their parents and their children to know that.

We asked: about the recent concerns over knife crime and how our parents can be made aware of this situation?

AL: In this country, at the moment, we spent a lot more attention and money on crisis, a bit like firefighting but actually if you work out earlier when children are toddlers if there are things that they need a little bit of help with, then if you offer that help; instead of waiting for things to get bigger and bigger, these things are much more likely to be avoided when they grow up. It is what is called:

‘A stitch in time saves nine’.

I’m not good at sewing but I do – do buttons – badly!

Everybody laughed.

We asked if her previous work at the former charity 4Children had similarities.

AL: It is similar because you are raising the issues by research and media. This present job is set in law so you can be ignored but it is your job to advise Parliament so you have much more impact.

At the centre of AL’s work is the law that the ‘best interests of the child’ must be considered above everything else.

AL feels very strongly about her work we think her ideas are very clear and are really going to make a difference.

Thanks to Giles Dilnot and Anne Longfield, OBE Commisioner for Children, England.


Written by Lily and Michael Year 7R

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