The "Parents Guide to MXit" is now available from today. This concise guide is made available at no cost to all concerned parents or educators, who may have sleepless nights about children using MXit, the popular chat application that enables communication on cell phones at the fraction of SMS costs.
Ramon Thomas, online behaviour expert at NETucation (the leading Black Empowered Online Research company in Johannesburg & Cape Town) produced this guide after a spate of negative publicity and shocking incident, since being interviewed about this topic on Cape Talk/702 in early September 2006.
"This guide explains MXit in plain and simple English for parents and teachers," says Thomas. "Once you understand MXit it very important to note the impact on your relationship with your child, the possibility and probability of addiction and abuse."
MXit Lifestyle (Pty) Ltd, the company who created the MXit application, states the current growth is about 10,000 new users per day. Latest stats indicate 385,000 users between 12-17 and 462,000 users between 18-25. After being released in late 2005, MXit has broken through the 2 million subscriber base in record time. And is the fastest growing cellphone application in South African history. As we approach the festive season when SMS volumes normally spike, MXit usage, and subscribers should continue to increase as rapid pace.
"Parents should realise this phenomenon is unstoppable and education is the key.." says Dr Helgo Schomer, University of Cape Town academic and registered psychologist who runs the Institute of Behavioural Health in Cape Town. He further explains that in virtual environments like MXit, people have no responsibility to adhere to acceptable social etiquette. Rumours can be spread, people can create fake identities, and there is no retribution or consequences to face up to.
The most important aspects covered in the guide is this:
1.How MXit impacts on Relationships
2.Coping with MXit Addiction / Dealing with Abuse 3.Installing MXit on your phone 4.Navigating the "MXit universe"
5.How to report Abuse or Threats
Patrick Hoare, founder of Kids Online, says, "Parents should not take away their children's cellphones because it may give rise to cellphones being used in secret." Parents normally teach us not to talk to strangers, yet we do that online. Do not accept invitations to chat privately from strangers on MXit.
To request your copy of the "Parents Guide to MXit" simply go to www.onlinesafety.org.za or SMS your name and email to 076-191-0405. The author, Ramon Thomas, is available for public talks at schools, churches or non-profit organisations - please call 011 4331034 for bookings.