MXit's chatroom blocking functionality, launched on a trial basis at the beginning of the school holidays. will now become a permanent feature of the company's safety and security protocols.
The blocking functionality was initiated before the December school holidays to enhance MXit's existing security features by giving concerned parents of young and vulnerable children the option to control their kids' access to chatrooms, where deemed necessary.
Juan du Toit, marketing manager of MXit, says that the decision to continue the chatroom blocking service was made this week when children across the country returned to school and the trial period for this new functionality officially ended.
"To date we have seen 10 000 of our users activate this service, and on average 200 to 300 people access this feature on MXit on a daily basis," says Du Toit.
"We have always stressed the importance of education and responsible online behaviour in the new world of digital communication – and will continue to do so, whether on MXit or elsewhere. We encourage parents and teachers to discuss basic safety guidelines with youngsters. The world they live and communicate in today is very different to the one we grew up in – and we need to adapt the age-old advice of "don't talk to strangers" to the 21st century context."
The chatroom block is the latest addition to MXit's other security measures, which include age restrictions, moderation, profanity filters and a process to report abuse.
"The chatroom block, in our view, is not the only solution for concerned parents – if blocked from one chatting platform a child can easily sign up to another elsewhere. Education is the key to keeping children safe in the digital world," Du Toit says.