Expert: Set ground rules before children go online

WCPOPublished: January 10, 2018
Published: January 10, 2018

If your child has a smartphone or tablet, there are good reasons to set some ground rules, according one local expert. Stephen Smith, a local author and creator of the website A Wired Family, said apps keep children hooked to their phones. "Instagram is free. Facebook is free. Lively is free. Snapchat is free," he said.  They're free for a reason, Smith said. It's all about market research. "These companies are not using that digital tattoo to do nefarious things to children," he said. "But they are going it to understand everything that a child does." Virtual reality apps are also popular. But Smith is concerned about some. "Unfortunately, virtual reality porn is very easy for children to get access to," he said.  Adult virtual reality is a growing industry, according to Smith. And a child can stumble on a site innocently.  "There is the potential that they're going to do things that kids do, just because they're curious," he said. Smith said it's a good idea to make sure children know the ground rules. Also, control app purchases and have a tech free zone in your home.  Smith said he has surveyed thousands of students around the Tri-State to understand their phone and social media habits. He believes there's a correlation between misuse of technology and teen depression, cyber bullying and sexting.

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