When the internet really started to become available for families, and kids in particular, it soon became fairly obvious that there were potentially real dangers. Part of the problem was that no-one really understood the internet, or at least understood its full potential. People stared to see the dangers of chat rooms and how the anonymity of the internet allowed people to lead dual lives and the potential dangers involved. It wasn't just that kids could access material that they would never be able to access otherwise, it was also the potential for grooming kids online and then some how arranging to meet up in person that was the new danger. A lot of advice started to come out about how best to protect kids, some of it from government, some from non-profits, some from commercial company's dealing with the new world of internet security. One piece of advice stood out from all the rest, which was to make sure that kids used their computers in the mainstream of family life, i.e not shut away in their bedrooms where non-one could see what was going on. This was fundamentally good advice – not because it meant that parents should snoop on their kids or check up, that's almost a separate issue, -but it meant there wasn't an air of secrecy around using the internet. There was a sense of openness about its use which meant that the real dangers of grooming was less likely to be able to take root. The advent of the mobile internet has changed this area totally in a way that doesn't seem to have been recognized much in the debate over internet safety. The fact that a kid can access the internet on a smart phone,means that that sense of openness just isn't there. They may not be shut in their bedroom, but the smart phone has become a world of its own that is very personal and private – the inherent dangers of that need to be out in the open and dealt with.
One of the biggest fears that people have around this area is that kids of any age will probably know more about technology than they do. That may be true, but not necessarily so and can actually be dealt with very easily. Even if that is true, what matters is not who know what, but the issue of trust that actually determines what any kid will do and the extent they will involve the adult involve in their life with that knowledge about what they are doing.

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