Matriculants and 'porn tablets' - Here's how parents can safeguard their children

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  • Parents of Masana Secondary School pupils in Bushbuckridge have raised concerns about their children misusing school tablets for viewing pornography.
  • Reports have also found that South Africa is facing a child pornography crisis.
  • Experts say parents can restrict their children's use of technology by blocking exposure to porn sites.


Parents of pupils from Masana Secondary School in Bushbuck Ridge, Mpumalanga, have reportedly demanded the school take back all tablets given to matriculants. According to a Sunday Times, this follows complaints that learners were more focused on watching pornography than using the devices to prepare for upcoming exams.

City Press reports that the Bureau for Market Research’s Youth Unit found that more than half of South African children are watching pornography regularly, and at least 10 percent are watching it every day.

In addition, access to a gadget such as a smartphone and a tablet has been declared to be the biggest problem, explains psychologist affiliated with the BMR unit Dr Antoinette Basson.

IT Regional Manager at Greenpeace SA Dumi Mkhize says although children can never be fully blocked from viewing pornography because some of these sites mushroom almost every minute, there are ways parents can monitor their kids’ devices.

“Parents can navigate their kid's devices remotely and block unsuitable websites and apps on their kid's devices by using the parental control software. This should be used more as a preventative measure than a trap for the children. As such they should be made aware of these measures in order to discourage them,” he advises.

Now more than ever, we truly have the world at our fingertips and, unfortunately, access to any kind of information with that being said, children have also become more technically inclined, which means they are exposed to all kinds of websites.

READ MORE | Tough love: A guide to firm but fair parenting

Here are some tips for parents on what they can do to manage this crisis, according to clinical psychologist Dr Marita Rademeyer:

1. Parents need to talk to their children about sex, their bodies and pornography from as early as three or four years of age.

2. Download software, such as Norton Family, that helps monitor what the children are watching and how much time they spend on their devices.

Other sites such as aleteia.org suggest that parents prohibit their kids from making use of these devices in private spaces such as in their bedrooms at night.

According to Commonsensemedia.com parents can do the following:

1. Delay giving or buying their children phones because this is also a contributing factor to the issue of child pornography.

2. Use the Screen Time app on iPhones and iPads, which helps limit time spent on certain apps and these limits can be password protected.

3. Turn on Google Safe Search on all the devices the child has access to.

4. Set YouTube restricted mode, which gives users an option that blocks mature content.

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