Will Clash of Clans harm my children?

Mobile phone usage contracts & Co: Let's protect our children on the Internet!

This time the information lecture on the subject of internet security took place on the parents' evening of our 4th graders. Here as a reminder (and passed on to those who could not be present) a short summary, a link to the mentioned mobile phone usage contract and additional information on the topic.

The aim is to use it appropriately for your children, where we as a school can give important information, e.g. as part of the computer coursewhich takes place every year for our 6th graders.

But only you, as parents, can and should keep an eye on how your children use cell phones, computers and game consoles, especially for how long and for what content!

Here we and your children depend on you.

My conclusionAs every year: In traffic (and in many other situations in life) you first talk to your children about dangers and correct behavior, you protect your children as best you can.
Then do it (please !!) on the Internet.

Here again the reference to the Mobile phone usage contract (here for download in Word format)) for you and your children. From my point of view, it is indispensable, especially to have a conversation with your own children about what is allowed and what is not and what consequences they may have to reckon with. It is not that important whether you also conclude this contract in writing (although I would recommend it ...).

Peter Beck-Moretti

And here is the link to one again Talk on WhatsApp, which I kept some time ago, but which has not lost any of its topicality!

It follows a Excerpt from the absolutely readable letter from parents from Günter Steppich, specialist advisor for youth media protection at the state education authority for Wiesbaden and the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis to Smartphones theme.

Parents letter from Günter Steppich (here the link to the original):

Dear parents of the new fifth graders,

….

Certainly many of you intend to give your children a cell phone or even a smartphone when they transition to secondary school. There is nothing wrong with this age group against a simple cell phone with which one can make calls and send SMS, although there is no reason on the part of the school why your children should bring a phone to school at all, because the secretariat can call at any time in an emergency. ....

From buying one I would strongly advise against smartphones for fifth graders, especially in connection with mobile internet access via flat rate! As a specialist advisor for youth media protection for the State Education Authority and the Hessian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs, I had my hands full with digital in the past school year To operate damage limitation, especially in cases of derailed nude photos ("sexting") and online bullying via WhatsApp and Facebook, pedophile attacks in chats as well as content that is harmful to minors such as pornography and killing videos. But also animal cruelty videos or horror chain letters have the potential to severely disturb fifth graders. And since the end of last year, more and more children have been signing up for dating apps like Lovoo or streaming live on Younow.com platformsthat the majority of parents have never heard of.

The The focus of these cases was in grades 6-8, but I also had a few cases in primary school with me, from the whole range listed above, e.g. because of a WhatsApp group called "4b without Paula"! All schools with which I have dealt complain about a sharp increase in problems caused by WhatsApp groups in lower grades.

From my point of view, there is no plausible or even compelling reason for children under the age of 14 to own and use smartphones, but there are plenty of arguments against it. A very simple aspect is that using WhatsApp steals a lot of valuable time from your child, which is at the expense of other important activities, especially homework and real social contacts. What ten-year-olds discuss in two hours on WhatsApp can be clarified in five minutes by phone!

According to a recent survey of seventh graders, they run in their WhatsApp class groups receive an average of around 500 messages on weekdays between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.! Lack of sleep thanks to the daily virtual overnight party is guaranteed when children are allowed to take their smartphones into the children's room at night.

After my experiences from the past years at numerous schools all over Hesse, it is only from the 8th grade After all, a majority of children are able to use a smartphone with some confidence, responsibility and thoughtfulness, but only provided that someone teaches them the basic rules of usewhich, unfortunately, is the exception rather than the rule. And even if you can teach your own child how to use these devices in a thoughtful manner, no one can protect this child from content that is sent to them by friends and classmates. With an internet-enabled smartphone, you give your child full access to the complete Adult world, with all its undisputed merits, but also with any negative excesses that you protect it from in real life for good reason. The Internet is a complete mirror of real life, and this also applies to supposedly harmless websites such as Google, Youtube or Facebook. With two to three clicks you are here, for example, with hardcore pornography or killing videos. Just enter the word disgusting once in Google image search. The question is therefore not at what age you give your child these options allow want, but rather when they give him that to expect want!

Some lower school students have content circulating on their smartphones that I am not even allowed to post here as examples, because it would make me liable to prosecution under the Youth Protection Act. Even if your own child finds such content repulsive and would never look for it on the Internet - a single problematic contact via WhatsApp, e.g. in the class group, is enough to generate impacts in the soul of your child that it is very difficult to process, and that it is likely to be withheld from you out of shame. It wasn't until mid-June that I had to do with a case at a Frankfurt high school where a decapitation video of the IS terrorist group was distributed via WhatsApp in grade 6. It took weeks for this information to get through to the first parents!

A smartphone with internet access is a tool with which one can inflict severe psychological injuries to oneself and others, and for its competent use, as with any other tool, a certain degree of maturity is required, above which children under 12 years of age even more from a developmental psychological point of view cannot dispose of it. Professor Dieter Braus, head of psychiatry at the HSK, even refers to these tools as weapons in his lectures, and reports of patients whoSmartphone injuries“Must be dealt with in his practice.

The terms and conditions of WhatsApp is only allowed to be used from the age of 16 (!), Facebook is only allowed from the age of 13 and also for games that seem harmless at first glance, such as Clash ofClans this age limit applies - did you know, for example, that there are hundreds of clans in Clash of Clans with titles such as “German Reich”, “Hitler Youth Camp”, or “Al Kaida”? Not to mention the obvious interest in the pocket money of their children in such games, which can shorten construction times and increase their fighting strength by buying virtual jewels for real money. The means of payment for this are available in every supermarket in the form of iTunes or Google Play prepaid cards.

A smartphone absolutely requires a smart user!

My mobile phone recommendations:

  • Cell phone not before class 5, smartphone only at around 14 years of age, mobile internet access (flat rate) from 16 years of age.
  • Do not conclude a contract for the child's cell phone, but buy a prepaid card, which limits, among other things, rip-offs with subscription traps and premium numbers as well as misuse if the cell phone is lost or stolen.
  • Let the provider set up a third-party block. That costs nothing and protects against various rip-offs. At Telekom and Vodafone you can also have all premium numbers blocked.
  • Increase the pocket money by a few euros and let your child bear the cost of the prepaid card themselves, so they learn how to use their mobile phone more carefully.

Should your child provide them with the Argument "everyone else has that" A look at the KIM study 2014 (www.mpfs.de) is recommended, according to which almost a third of 10-11 year olds in Germany had a smartphone with WhatsApp. Even if this number should have doubled over Christmas, that would still be very far from "all". You definitely do not have to worry about exclusion or even bullying if your child does not have a smartphone - these phenomena have always had completely different causes than branded clothing or other status symbols, and we cannot give our children 150 grams of self-confidence with a smart smartphone shake hands, it doesn't work.

If your child already has a smartphone, I strongly recommend that you have it with a Child protection app such as FragFinn (iOS and Android) or Vodafone Child Protect (Android) childproof. Likewise, your child should not be able to install apps on their mobile phones independently; you as parents should only know the password for your child's Google or iTunes account so that you can view every app that the child wants to install together can.

On my website www.medien-sicherheit.de you can find further information on media education, including a quiz with which you can test your personal level of knowledge on this topic:

http://www.medien-sicherheit.de/quiz-fit-fuer-medienerbildung

There is also a three-part quiz for the children with a total of 44 questions: http://www.medien-sicherheit.de/schuelerquiz-fit-fuers-internet

Günter Steppich

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