Advice for the protection of minors in the use of mobile phones and social networks

Digital devices, such as smartphones or computers, have become an indispensable tool in our daily lives for communication, information research, or for leisure and entertainment. For these latter uses, many fathers and mothers and/or guardians have made these devices a regular resource for their minor sons and daughters, often without taking into account the risks of improper use of them.

Consumption Responde recalls that, among consumers and users, there are age groups that are particularly vulnerable to the use of these technologies and the Internet, especially when they are minors, and therefore underlines encourage responsible and safe use of these technologies. This responsible and safe consumption of the Internet requires adequate digital education of children and young people, supplemented by active monitoring or control.

Organizations like the National Institute of Cybersecurity (Incibe) or the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) warn about content that may be inappropriate, such as inappropriate images – due to age, maturity, sensitivity, the subject or its treatment – or loss of privacy due to excessive publication of private information (on social networks). State security forces and bodies also affect other frequent dangers that affect minors, such as cases in which they are victims of impersonation, sexting, cyberbullying or grooming.

The Council recalls the the importance of support and family mediation to educate boys and girls in safe and responsible use of the Internet, as well as learn about the friendships they have on the network, the applications they use, and remember at all times the risks of inappropriate use. It is necessary to supplement these measures with a dialogue involving the minors and making them understand the reasons for the measures taken.

Measures that may include: establishing rules and hours of use; adapt their school and study schedules to computer use; the time control use of cell phones or computers, especially the Internet; remember the privacy hazards and exposure to inappropriate content; the surveillance know the sites and applications used; the installation of filters and parental control programs to limit access to certain activities. The Council highlights the constant awareness-raising work carried out by Consumer Responds, and also recalls that there are specialized websites very suitable for informing on this subject, such as Incibe itself or the Safe Internet for Kids (IS4K) portal, which promote safe use. and responsible for the Internet and new technologies with children and adolescents.

The risks of misuse are not only linked to inappropriate content, but also, at these ages, can be detrimental to health and cognitive development, in particular due to the use of screens and exposure excessive exposure to light from an early age. In this sense, we must remember recommendations such as those issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), which indicate that people under 2 years old should not be exposed to screens (TV, telephones, computers, etc.), and limit to 1 hour per day this exhibition from 2 to 12 years. The recommended duration from 12 years is 2 hours a day.

Excessive exposure to digital devices, especially in children under two, negatively affects their cognitive development, affecting skills such as socio-communicative skills, as their interaction with others is reduced, in addition to promoting a mode sedentary lifestyle, and it also affects your eye health, due to prolonged exposure to light from screens, being more harmful when using screens at night.

Consumption responds

If you have any questions or questions about consumption, citizens can contact Consumption Responds, a free information and advice service for consumers and users, promoted by the Ministry of Health and Consumption of the Andalusian Government.

It is a multi-channel service, which can be accessed at all times through the telephone number 900 21 50 80, from the page, from the email address [email protected]; and Twitter profiles (@consumorresponde), Facebook ( and Instagram (@consumoresponde).

You can also get advice on Provincial Consumer Services of the territorial delegations of Health and Consumption present in all the provincial capitals, as well as in the Municipal consumer information offices (OMIC) and in consumer and user organizations.

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