80% of Polish youngsters are online non-stop. They use smartphones and tablets. This data has alarmed the experts, because the parents seem not to control the way their children use the internet.
Anna Rywczyńska of the Research and Academic Computer Network Institute (NASK) claims that parents tend to forget that you can use the internet on a smartphone or a tablet just as you do on a computer.
This way, parents give their children an unsupervised access to the whole internet. Currently, the average age of a child getting a smartphone is 12. We can only imagine what they have access to. With such a device the kids are online all the time, – says Rywczyńska.
She heavily stressed that children usually don’t know how to protect their privacy.
They use applications that are easily accessible, but require a large number of data to begin with. Children do not fully control it and are rather unable to decide what’s right, therefore parents’ behaviour is crucial to monitor the content that children can encounter, because the equipment is often simply unsecured, – adds Rywczyńska.
The expert underlines that most of social portals are accessible from the age of 13.
Meanwhile, many parents help their children with setting up accounts although the kids do not meet this condition. It seems to them that it’s okay that the kid has an account and they will stay in touch with their friends, – says Rywczyńska.
Rywczyńska notes that before giving their children smartphones, parents should make the device safe for them (considering accessibility of some websites, portals, chatrooms and apps).
They can block pages that their children should not visit. They can block keywords, which will be unsearchable. There are many programmes that can help you do this, but you have to remember that nothing will replace parental supervision. They need to talk with their children and observe how the youngsters use their mobile devices, – adds the expert.
Rywczyńska also emphasised that many parents give a bad example to their children, not putting their own phones away even for a moment.
Children pattern their parents’ behaviour. The latest research shows that 89% teens sleep with their smartphones next to their heads. They just won’t turn it off, ever, and it disturbs their dream. Plus, the kids often become addicted to smartphones, – summarises Rywczyńska.