All Woman

Check your child's cellphone!

BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE All Woman writer

Monday, April 21, 2014    

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IF some parents could see the pictures, videos, text messages, and conversations that their children are engaged in and exposed to on cellphones and tablets, they would be shocked. More and more children are being given these gadgets with data plans and left up to their own devices when using them. But experts warn that parents need to constantly check to see what their children are doing with these tools of edu-tainment.

"I think parents really need to be a lot more vigilant in this time when technology is at its highest and the kids can get information at the touch of a finger," child psychologist Camille Lemonious said. "And if we are going to spend money to give them the latest gadgets, the least we can do is ensure that we guide them and ensure that they are properly monitored as it relates to information that they are getting on these phones and tablets."

She said, not only should parents check their children's cellphones and tablets, but they should ensure that they are friends with their child on Facebook and other social media.

Change the cellphone settings so you can view children's sent and received messages, and monitor their chats on apps like Hangouts on the tablets.

"Every parent who has a teenager needs to be on Facebook. You need to be aware. You need to be friends with your child so that you can be on to see the messages, see the pictures," Lemonious said. "Often teenagers are posting pictures of themselves partially nude and some of the parents are not even aware that this is happening. So you need to be on Facebook, you need to be on Twitter, you need to be on all of those social networks that your child is on."

Along with the social networks, Lemonious advises parents to also check the history on the family's or child's computer to see what sites they have been visiting, and use apps or privacy settings to block access to adult material on sites like YouTube.

"It would be good to check some of the conversations that your children are having," Lemonious emphasised. "Some of the conversations are probably too strong for them. The content is too strong and some of the images that they may be sending out or getting may be too strong for them and they need to be managed. They really need to be guided."

Parents cannot keep children quarantined from the ills of access to the information super highway, but they can surely manage and monitor the experience.

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