Johannesburg - Cellphones have become an essential part of teenagers’ lives, but with these gadgets come major concerns for parents.

When children use their phones to Facebook, snapchat, go on Mxit and tweet, they are exposed to a host of online sites.

Worried parents should heed the advice of the SAPS, which is promoting the website www.cellphonesafetyco.za. It’s a useful link which shows parents how to block access to pornography.

There are millions of pornographic sites available online.

Children can view graphic scenes in the comfort of their home and without the knowledge of their parents, and even without meaning to.

Through www.cellphonesafety.co.za, parents are guided on how to block access through Vodacom and MTN networks as well as how to block them through iPhones, iPads and android phones such as Samsung.

Cell C and 8ta have no provisions set up yet to counter child access to unsuitable images.

Blackberry uses the application SmyleSafe, which can be downloaded via the BlackBerry World application.

The parental controls allow parents to switch BlackBerry Messenger, SMS, YouTube uploads, web browsers and social media platforms on and off.

For the full guide on how to block access, visit the website.

 

Internet safety

According to a study titled Generation M done in 2006, seven out of 10 children were accidentally exposed to pornography through teaser images, innocent word searches, misspelt words, cartoon characters and child icons and even e-mail spam. InternetSafety 101 lists some of the harms pornography can cause:

l It has a negative impact on the emotional and mental health of children.

l It fosters sexual mis-education.

l It is a counterfeit for erotic love and intimacy.

l It diminishes sexual satisfaction later on.

l It portrays adult entertainment as normal and desirable.

l It desensitises the viewer and increases an appetite for more deviant, bizarre, or violent types of pornography.

l It contains images that can never be erased.

l It facilitates sexual aggression. - The Star

 

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