Published on: 27.04.09
Source: press report pressetext
A new development in parents behaviour was observed in the USA recently according to CNN as the news agency pressetext reports: Parents more often install software on mobile phones of their children without asking them, because they worry about their online safety. The news agency interviewed Bernhard Jungwirth, co-ordinator of the Austrian awareness project Saferinternet.at and member of the Youth Protection Roundtable. In his opinion, this kind of surveillance is not the right way to protect young people from online risks.
Furthermore observation seems not to be of value for a trustworthy relationship, so Bernhard Jungwirth. Mothers and fathers are central persons of trust for children: Parents have to be interested in the way of using the Internet, but secretly observing their children would destroy the trust. In the USA parents installed software like "My Mobile Watchdog" on the childrens' mobile phones. With the help of the software, adults are informed in advance about short messages and pictures the children shall get. Reasons for parents to use this kind of control might be that more and more young people share photographs of their own nude body or short messages with erotic content among themselves, according to "My Mobile Watchdog".
As "My Mobile Watchdog" reported recently, "sexting" (wordplay: means to send erotic photographs or short messages by mobile phone) is rising among young people between 13 and 19 years: 29 percent of the young people sent text messages with erotic content to friends in the same age and 20 percent of the young people also sent photographs or videos with their nude body to others.
Parents should rather talk to their children and discuss with them about online risks and their worries, says Berndhard Jungwirth and stresses that parents should aim at mutual understanding of problems occurring from using new technologies and at a common discussion in a critical and active way.
According to Bernhard Jungwirth measures like filter software are more appropriate for younger Internet beginners. He states that for example walled garden solutions can allow children to surf specific websites with harmless content. For older children he emphasises awareness raising and digital literacy as adequate strategies for Internet safety.