Friday 21 September 2018

Dr Ciara Kelly: It's time to wise up and insist on 'dumbphones'

A third of children admit to chatting to strangers online
A third of children admit to chatting to strangers online

Ciara Kelly

I've been thinking long and hard about smartphones and children. Truthfully, it's been playing on my mind ever since Matthew Horan was convicted a few weeks ago of child exploitation after he convinced children as young as nine to send him explicit photos of themselves via various social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Kik.

The children's parents were clearly - and understandably - distraught with one of the fathers describing himself as haunted by the thoughts of a paedophile preying on his child. One of the children even told Horan she was suicidal - but that didn't deter him from blackmailing her into sending more photographs. A parent's worst nightmare you will agree.

And there's been much debate about what the right way to tackle internet safety for our children might be. Much of what is said focuses on education. Educating our kids and educating ourselves as parents so we have the skills to protect them from what can harm them in the murky swamp that is the internet.

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