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Children's smartphone usage sparks cyber safety fears: Report

Eight in 10 children will own a phone by the time they're 13, according to Telstra

The adoption of mobile phones by Australian children is growing rapidly, but education about the dangers of cyber space is lacking, according to a new Telstra survey.

The Cyber-Safety survey was conducted using 1250 Australian parents who had children aged 10-17.

The survey found eight in 10 children own a mobile phone by the time they are 13 and seven in 10 will bring one to school in 2012. In addition, one in three kids will return to school with a smartphone, while six per cent will bring a tablet into the classroom.

However, 45 per cent of the parents surveyed admitted that they had not spoken to their children about cyber bullying while 37 per cent had not educated their children about online stranger danger.

Telstra internet trust and safety officer, Darren Kane, said in a statement that talking about cyber safety essentials such as sharing personal information online, handling approaches from cyber bullies and using social network privacy settings was essential.

"Parents can help ensure their children have a positive experience with these technologies by involving themselves in their children's use of the internet, keeping an eye on how they interact with others, and regularly talking to them about what online behaviour is acceptable," he said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU


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