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Par­ents should ed­u­cate their chil­dren about what’s ac­cept­able on so­cial me­dia, says Corné Peach, a Jo­han­nes­burg clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist.

The per­ils of strangers and shar­ing nude pho­tos should be pointed out to them as part of sex ed­u­ca­tion. “The right time to talk about it is when your child first starts mak­ing use of a cell­phone, or a com­puter, and the in­ter­net,” she says.

Chil­dren need to learn from a young age that peo­ple don’t al­ways have their best in­ter­ests at heart, Peach adds. They should also know that peo­ple aren’t al­ways who they pre­tend to be on­line. “Hon­est, di­rect and open dis­cus­sions are best.”

Pro­fes­sor Esmé van Rens­burg, a lec­turer in child psy­chol­ogy at North-West Univer­sity, ad­vises par­ents to mon­i­tor their chil­dren’s so­cial me­dia ac­counts and reg­u­larly check their browser his­tory.

“There’s noth­ing wrong with do­ing a ran­dom spot-check – even if they hate you for it.”

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