It was a privilege to have been asked our opinion last week, about whether to permit national school children to have smartphones. It featured in the Irish Daily Mail. We have always been very firm in our advice to all parents when we recommend, under no circumstances should children in National Schools ever be given a Smartphone. They have neither the maturity, not the intellectual ability to deal with the enormous amount of harmful content and online deviant behaviour of others.
There is a duty of care both on us as parents and the platform providers. However it is an unreal expectation, as parent’s can’t just rely on the companies who provide platforms for Social Media Apps, to protect children fully. If we are to learn anything from the Channel 4 Dispatches episode “Secrets of a Social Network”, it should be that these sites, despite their attempts at moderation are simply unsuitable for children, full stop.
Large companies such as Facebook, exist to make profit. Profit is made from advertising. A user is a consumer. The personal information you, or your child provide every time you log in, Like, Comment, or even look at on a page or post, is generating information on you. This information is then sold on to third parties, who target you with advertising. The revenue generated keeps the company going. You are not availing of these Apps for free, there is a huge cost. It is the sacrifice of your privacy and personal information, and that of your children if they also use the platforms.
Facebook is coming under an incredible amount of pressure to address the moderation issues and remove Child Abuse, Self-Harm and Hate Speech content. However, it is important to realise your children are not using Facebook. All eyes are now focused on the one company, children do not use. We have literally not seen more than a handful of children with a Facebook account, in all of the schools we visited.
“Ugly or Not Instagram Poll”