Fears over smartphone usage by children
on 28/06/2012 00:00:00
Due to the increased risk posed by smartphones, one in four parents are refusing to allow their children access, it has emerged.
The study found 65% of parents were worried children were exposed to mobile threats including sexting - sending sexually explicit messages and photographs.
A further concern is such phones divulge children's locations to paedophiles.
Research published yesterday by Irish company AdaptiveMobile found that while most parents (89%) felt it was their duty to protect their children when using smartphones, 26% believed the manufacturer should bear greater responsible.
The vast majority (95%) of parents would like to use some form of control on their children's smartphones. However, just 13% were using them.
The study of about 1,000 parents was conducted in Britain and related to those with children aged eight to 15. It found a majority were trying to educate their children on the threats posed by smartphones.
Almost 70% of parents discussed cyberbullying with their children while one third discussed the dangers of sexting.
Just over half said they did not have as much control as they would like over what their children were viewing on smartphones and who they were interacting with.
Almost two thirds would like more controls as their children matured.
ISPCC Childline manager Margie Roe said the findings were not surprising.
"They probably very much reflect the concerns that Irish parents have around children's use of smartphones with mobile internet use and the risk that entails," she said.
The Irish Cellular Industry Association, an alliance of mobile operators, said it encouraged parents to discuss issues raised by smartphone usage with their children just as they discuss other matters of personal security and appropriate behaviour.
The ICIA, a business sector within the employers' group Ibec, has produced a parent's guide to safe and sensible use of mobile phones. It is available at ibec.ie.
ISPCC's Childline tips for parents on children's use of smartphones:
* Become familiar with your child's smartphone and learn how to adjust its settings
* Agree on rules on what can be downloaded
* Make sure that the apps used are age-appropriate
* Limit your child's screen time
* Negotiate rules with your child around internet use
*Tell your child about internet risks