A recent report by online security company Kaspersky has revealed what South Africa’s kids search for when they’re left alone with a desktop computer, and the findings are concerning.
The results of tracked searches for May 2018 to May 2019, globally, included categories for Software, audio, video; Internet communication; Electronic commerce; News resources; Obscene language; Computer games; Adult content and Alcohol, tobacco, narcotics.
The majority of children, at 17.9%, visited sites relating to the Software, Audio, Video category. According to Kaspersky, African children are the most likely of their global peers to visit sites in this category and their favourite one is YouTube.
Coming in second was computer games, with 16.9% of kids searching for games and gaming tips. The vast majority of searches are related to online video game Fortnite.
Of some concern is the revelation that 14.9% of kids look for adult content from their desktop PCs. Other reports have shown that children prefer viewing porn from mobile devices.
While South African kids don’t make up the majority of those who conduct these searches (that place goes to Japan), this particular category has seen a sharp overall increase from last year.
Distribution of users’ search queries by thematic category, May 2018 – May 2019
These stats provide fuel for the proposal by the SA Law Reform Commission (SALRC), whereby it will become a criminal offence to provide a child with a cell phone that is capable of accessing pornography on the internet.
A criminal offence
According to Business Insider South Africa while the law will target manufacturers of cell phones, under the current proposed wording the law would apply to anyone who “provides” or allows a child to “engage” with such a device.
This includes the nanny who hands your toddler her outdated phone for a few minutes, or the visiting uncle who lets your teen watch music videos on his old tablet.
Children need more support
In late 2016 a UNICEF study suggested that “children are in need of more support from their parents, teachers and friends, around how to use the internet safely, in ways that benefit their lives.”
It was also noted that “this would require parents themselves to be given guidance as to how to manage their children’s internet use, as parents currently feel ill-equipped to do so.”
Do you feel equipped to manage your child’s internet use?
Tell us, and we could publish your story. Anonymous contributions are always welcome.
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