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Parents taking control of how kids use their phones

A new app offering lets moms and dads manage their child’s device through their own computer, tailoring the child’s phone so it can block unwanted calls and texts and also to control the time of day kids can use their phones.

More than 68 per cent of Australian children aged 12 to 17 are smartphone owners and they are spending more than three hours a day hooked to their devices.

Child psychologist said parents need to set limits and boundaries around the use of technology, particularly for kids who are sleep deprived because they’re wired up to their devices late at night. “If this technology allows kids to get sleep because their phones are unable to operate when they should be sleeping, that’s a good thing,’’ he said.

“Some kids have real impulse control disorders where they find it really difficult to limit themselves particularly when it comes to social networking.”  But Doctors say children who are connected to social media sites including SnapChat, Instagram and Facebook were “psychologically better off than those who aren’t.”

The new research found a majority of parents are concerned about mobile cyber risks — 79 per cent fear their child would receive unsolicited contact and 74 per cent are concerned about the online content kids can access. Some parents say:

- “I would advocate very strongly that parents don’t just rely on a technological tool, they still need to be parents as well,’’ she said.

- “Children are getting devices at younger and younger ages ... we do want everyone to have positive digital experiences.’’

- Children need to be taught in a “slow and measured” way how to use the devices in a balanced fashion.

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21 MARCH 2015 / Published in Application
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