Monitor your child’s phone, social media behavior

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 8, 2015

Decades ago cell phones were not commonplace, much less in the hands of every teenager coming of age.
Today, parents are giving their teenagers a device in the hopes of keeping tabs on them and thereby ensuring their safety. But sometimes those parents may not understand everything the device is capable of.
Smartphones not only come with the ability to make calls and ensure your child is safe, they also include Internet access, a camera and an avenue to unintentionally share too much of their young lives with the world.
This week the Item was informed that nude photos of local teenagers are being posted to an Instagram account.
It appears the pictures were initially taken by the young person in question and then sent to a boyfriend. While it’s unclear how the photos moved on from there, it is evident had the photo not been taken and shared, it never would have been posted to the Internet.
Children in this day and age are no different than those born in the 50s, 60s or 70s, they just live with a plethora of technology that didn’t exist in previous generations. What this new generation doesn’t realize is that once something is posted anywhere on the Internet or sent via text message, it can potentially survive forever in someone else’s possession, and used at their discretion.
Currently Mississippi statutes do not have a course of action for law enforcement to seek a conviction against the person responsible for establishing the account that requests these types of photos. Until something is changed with the state’s laws, it is up to the parents to protect their children by speaking with them about the ramifications of sharing inappropriate images with other people. Even if the laws are changed, parents should still take an active role in how their children interact with the world through electronic devices.

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