As we approach the Christmas period for some, and holidays for others, most families dedicate time to looking for suitable presents and toys for children. As this New York Times article points out, the most dangerous of toys for children is in fact the Internet. As adults, we know how addictive social media and apps are and yet allow our children to spend far too long on these. As we have commented in previous posts, the dopamine surge keeps children wanting more, and tech companies have been profiting from their data and potentially leading them to inappropriate content. The video from this article also highlights how we, as parents, protect our children in most potentially dangerous scenarios, but fail to take the right precautions for them online. Additionally tech companies have found ways around the limited legislation through loopholes (by simply adding “You need to be 13 to use this site”, while not requiring any proof of age), so can literally get away with murder. In one survey referenced in the video, 40% of those surveyed between the ages of 9 – 12 said they visited Instagram and 78% of the same age group visit YouTube every day – and not the kiddies´ version, created in 2015. In the case of the latter ads appeared in 95% of the videos aimed at children, of which 20% were inappropriate. The safety and wellbeing of children has to be the responsibility of parents, especially when tech companies have a disregard for this. The Age Appropriate Design Code in the UK – the first piece of legislation reversing the responsibility with the individual or parents of these accessing the content, placing it fairly and squarely with the tech companies – helped by forcing these to protect children globally. But in the face of little else in the way of protection we recommend parents using the parental app for our Classroom Manager school offering to manage what web pages a child can access and for how long, and similarly, in the case of a mobile phone recommend the Blabloo and Geniora smartphones, as once linked to a parental device enable a parent to manage access to apps and web pages, thereby protecting them online from inappropriate content.              

#safeguarding #socialmedia