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Teenagers oblivious to social networking dangers

An IT expert believes children aren't aware of potential pitfalls of online communication.

Cellphone communication. Picture: Stock.xchng

CAPE TOWN - An IT expert believes teenagers are oblivious to the dangers associated with social networking and online communication.

Worldwide Worx's Arthur Goldstuck said many children joined the networks at the young age of 12-years-old. He said they often unwittingly exposed too much information about their private lives and personal details.

It is estimated about three million South African teens are active on Facebook, Mxit, Twitter, Blackberry messenger service and other networks.

Goldstuck cautioned that doing so places them at great risk.

"They come across has very dangerous very often and very quickly. I am referring to cyber bullying. The kids are using social networks and cellphones as a platform for cyber bullying."

Cape Town learners from Sea Point High School said safety is a key first priority.

"I just have to be on my phone; it's just one of those things," one young girl said.

The school's principal Pik Botha said they confiscated cellphones if they find children with them.

Many who joined social networking sites at the age of around 12 years old said they loved chatting to their friends.

Other learners said criminals have targeted them because they have phones.