Day in day out we read about problems with children who simply cannot distance themselves from their mobile phones. You might ask; well, why give them in the first place? The problem is that everyone, literally everyone, now uses mobile phones. Children communicate in some arcane language they seem to understand but most grown-ups raise their eyebrows in the hope that it can make what they read, intelligible! My own family is locked into an app called WhatsApp. One of the most insidious things you will ever have. It is, I know, like a drug. There are people who have them in bed! Whatever turns you on but it has to be said that it does seem to influence your mental state. What I have done in conjunction with my daughter, the grandchildren are governed now by a software program called Famisafe. It allows for controlling what they can do on their mobiles. It is rather simple because you can set up times when the mobiles are blocked, for instance bedtimes or game playing. You can block the Google Play store (a good thing to do!) In fact, you can block most things but also allow those apps that are needed. For instance apps that help with school lessons, history, Wikipedia and so on. There is a cost but as always, good things, useful things, are costly to develop to provide and maintain. For about £50 annually I think it’s not a bad thing to pay for a child’s security. The Famisafe app can warn the overseer parent(s) about the incredible amount of silly and stupid WhatsApp messages that children send each other. Some of my granddaughters school friends are evidently not real friends and the groups they set up are quickly descending into and using, sexual innuendo and words. The app even highlights these words and also shows the name of the person sending them! Plus any replies given by the child will also show up. Good to have noted appropriate action can be taken at the time before it gets out of hand!
Obviously, it has been known that mobiles can facilitate this kind of communication. It crosses all age groups and sexes. It bothers me as well that Meta and other providers are so reluctant to do something about the problem. It does show up humanity in a bad way. Social restraint just goes out of the window.
Lately we have learned about what damage can be done to young children, girls in particular seem to be obsessed with body image. Recently a young girl called Molly Russell committed suicide. It was found that on her mobile were shown many images and videos about self-harm and suicide. But permit me one observation, how was it allowed? Was there anyone checking the phone from time to time? Or better still was there a responsible adult making the poor girl using such an app as mentioned above? These are also questions that need answering. The truth is that too many adults are providing these contraptions without ensuring proper safeguards. I am not saying that this is the case here but generally speaking you will find it a true situation.
As a quick remark, these monitoring apps are very difficult to delete. They can be a life-saver, children don’t like them and try almost invariably to get you to ‘Gimme, gimme, more time, more games, allow Google, allow WhatsApp etc etc’. In the end they do like and accept that an adult takes enough interest in what they are doing. It’s simply good to talk!
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