MXit urges youngsters to use com­mon sense

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FIONA GOUNDEN

MXit au­thor­i­ties have urged youngsters to ap­ply com­mon sense to stay free from any “preda­tors” who ask for their per­sonal de­tails.

A con­cerned par­ents group is now call­ing on par­ents to log on to MXit and cre­ate an ac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion fo­rum with their chil­dren. Par­ents who don’t want their chil­dren to log on to MXit have also been urged to use the MXit block­ing fea­ture.

This week MXit au­thor­i­ties spoke of the ini­tia­tives they had em­barked on. They have a part­ner­ship with Child­line South Africa, which al­lows young adults to re­ceive on­line coun­selling from trust­wor­thy sources. They also have an HIV/Aids in­for­ma­tion and coun­selling ser­vice on­line. Drug and sub­stance abuse coun­selling and ad­vice is also of­fered.

The in­ter­na­tional mar­ket­ing man­ager for MXit, Juan du Toit, said, “Ev­ery so­cial net­work, just like ev­ery coun­try on this planet, has crim­i­nals that will use what­ever tools are avail­able to them, to com­mit crimes. Th­ese crim­i­nals op­er­ate in our shop­ping malls, restau­rants, cin­e­mas, on the road and on the in­ter­net.

“We have more than 17 mil­lion users who in­ter­act and have fun on MXit without get­ting into trou­ble, and this is be­cause they un­der­stand the rules of en­gage­ment and ap­ply com­mon sense.”

There is only a hand­ful of users that dis­plays ir­re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iour on MXit, ac­cord­ing to Du Toit.

“The re­sult of this be­hav­iour should be a les­son to other users – do not be­friend peo­ple who you don’t know and do not give them your per­sonal de­tails. Th­ese peo­ple could be im­posters with un­savoury in­ten­tions. The only way that pho­tos or mes­sages can be passed from one user to the next is by be­friend­ing that user and adding him or her to your con­tact list.”

Their ad­vice to par­ents of younger users was to un­der­stand the tech­nol­ogy by down­load­ing MXit and to help their teenagers by talk­ing to them about the rules and po­ten­tial risks of en­gag­ing with peo­ple that they did not know, said Du Toit.

“The chat rooms are mod­er­ated up to 14 hours a day. A chat room block­ing fea­ture is avail­able that al­lows par­ents to block the chat ca­pa­bil­ity on MXit. Users are en­cour­aged to re­port any abuse they may have ex­pe­ri­enced,” said Du Toit.

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