Due to many parents asking for advice about what they should do for their children who are on MXit I’ve listed a post from the MXit Website that serves as advice for parents:
“INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
The Internet has brought with it the proverbial good, the bad and the ugly and since MXit uses a small part of the Internet, we would like you to be aware of the following:
Long before MXit appeared on the horizon in May 2005, most mobile phones had the ability to search the web via the default browser on the phone. This gives your child access to basically everything and anything that is available on the Internet. Unlike the PC world, where a myriad of software products are available to protect minors, the mobile phone world has yet to implement such safety nets.
Internet dangers include access to highly undesirable material, access to chat rooms, mobile phone viruses, etc.
If you do not have the technological knowledge to alert your children to these dangers, and feel that they are too young to cope with them, perhaps it is not a good idea to give your children mobile phones until you know exactly how the phones operate.
SO WHERE DOES MXit FIT IN?
* MXit is an instant messaging (IM) program that allows all our registered users to communicate with each other inexpensively, if they give consent.
* MXit is not a web browser and as such cannot be used to access pornographic or other adult sites, or adult chat rooms.
* The majority of our traffic is person-to-person where a user needs to add a contact before he/she can send a message or receive a message from a person – very similar to SMS.
* As part of community building, we have created a number of chat rooms where we have given our registered users the ability to meet other people. We continually strive to make the chat rooms safer and more user-friendly, but any chat room has an element of risk associated and safety is dependent on the conduct of the user.
* If you are of the opinion that your child needs his/her mobile phone for safety reasons, then it is a good idea to disable the default web browser or GPRS or 3G via a request to your service provider to ensure Internet surfing is not possible.
* Can you disable GPRS (or 3G) on the phone and still use MXit? Unfortunately not – so the choice is yours.
In order to try and minimize the inherent risks, we have put the following precautions in place
* All teenagers’ chat rooms (Like TeenZone) have profanity filters (this means that swear words are replaced by ##### symbols).
* A network of MXit and community moderators assiduously monitors the rooms on an ad hoc basis.
* No user profiles, which normally include personal details and photographs, are stored. There are many chat rooms on the Internet that do store user profiles.
* To further ensure that you have a safe online experience in the chat rooms, MXit has created dynamic chat zones – which allows a user to create his/ her own private chat room, and invite friends to participate in a private chat. Such rooms are password protected and only those in possession of the password can enter the rooms. Our chat rooms are age restricted. When you register on MXit you are asked to log your age. This age will allow you entrance to only certain of the chat rooms – which are restricted to protect our younger users.
* The MXit chat room acts as a cocoon. The user remains completely anonymous while in the chat room, and as long as he/she does not puncture this cocoon by revealing any personal information (including information about friends and family), he/she remains safe in his/her anonymity.
* Conversation in public chat rooms is viewed by the community – every person can see every message and can respond.
* Users can at any time leave a chat room or type the .ignore command to ignore someone who is abusive.
* If a user wants to report abusive behaviour he/she can type .rat and then the last 30 lines of conversation will be sent to a MXit moderator to act upon.
* Every time users enter the chat rooms we remind them to keep their personal information confidential.
* None of our chat room names or descriptions has any sexual slant and we strongly discourage any form of discrimination and/or explicit sexual chat.
* By using our website, users can report abuse.
* We publish safe chatting tips in a number of places on our website and forum.
* A shorter version of safe chatting tips is built into the MXit phone application and users are constantly reminded to view it.
10 BASIC SAFETY TIPS
1. Keep your MXit password (PIN) secret and ensure it is at least 8 digits long and not an obvious choice.
2. Change your password immediately if you suspect someone is using your account.
3. Never reveal or send your password to anyone – MXit will never ask for your password.
4. Do not let your phone be used by someone else without you being present.
5. Never reveal any personal information such as your phone number, MXit pin, residential address or school address while in a chat room. This also goes for revealing personal information about your friends and family to strangers.
6. Never accept an invitation from a stranger on MXit – simply deny the invitation if it is someone you don’t know.
7. Always be aware the people you are talking to on MXit, or in any internet chat room, may not be who they say they are.
8. Keep your online relationships online! Even if you think you know your contacts well enough, we still strongly advise that you DO NOT physically meet with strangers. Pedophiles and other offenders are clever; they sometimes spend months gaining their victims’ trust before asking them to meet with them.
9. Let the MXit support team know of any suspicious behavior. Send an e-mail to email@example.com or post it on the MXit forum at http://forum.mxit.com.
10. Do not download any fake versions of MXit. To download MXit for your mobile, go to http://www.mxit.com/wap and for your PC go to http://www.mxit.com/mxitpc.
MEETING SOMEONE IN REAL LIFE:
* Always tell a loved one where you are going, who you are meeting, and when you will be back.
* Meet in a public place.
* Ideally, take a friend with you and have the other person do the same.
* Do not invite anyone to your home or go to their home. Keep your distance until you feel you know them well enough.
* Take your mobile phone along, and make sure it’s fully charged and has airtime. Get someone to call you at a pre-arranged time to check that everything is OK. This person can also act as your alibi, giving you an excuse to leave if necessary.
We, at MXit, will continually strive to make the MXit world a safer place” Source:(MXit Lifestyle Team)