Your smartphone can land you in trouble

BEWARE: Emma Sadleir says sexting has become a societal norm. Photo: Lucky Thusi

SOCIAL media law expert, Emma Sadleir had an interesting talk with teachers, learners and parents at Calvary Christian College about the pros and cons of owning smartphones, on March 9.

Some of the major concerns she touched on include sexting, cyberbullying, online predators, catfishing, reputation, emotional health, legal consideration and health and brain development.

One critical aspect of having a smartphone is that you will have an internet connection and you automatically become a publisher.

“It is important to know the laws around publishing anything. The internet has no shallow end, once you are in, you are in. That is why I say children under 13 years of age must not own a smartphone,” she said.

There are platforms where children or adults interact and she strongly advised the parents to know how these platforms work and which ones their children go to. She also reminded the audience that digital content is dangerous content, especially if wrong content lands where it was not supposed to land.

HAVING A CONVERSATION: Emma Sadleir speaks to the teachers, learners and parents at Calvary Christian College. Photo: Lucky Thusi

“Imagine your phone got lost, stolen or hacked? Are you confident that the content on your phone won’t embarrass you? If you cannot put the content on your phone on a billboard, you need not have it or share it. Remember once it is out, it is out,” noted Emma.

She also mentioned the importance of online CVs, in other words, any content that is online about you.

“Remember every employer will go to online before hiring anyone, so better have a good online CV. Even after many years, your online CV will still be there. It is your digital footprint or digital shadow, be careful what you put online or what other people tag you in online. If you do not want to be associated with something online, make it clear, untag yourself or write on the comment that you are not part of it or tell someone. Because if you keep quiet, you are associating yourself with it,” she said.

Emma emphasised the teaching of confidentiality to children and they need to be sceptical and cynical because there are predators out there who will always be preying on them.

She also recommended two books that she co-wrote; Selfies, sexts and smartphones as well as Don’t film yourself having sex. For more information visit


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Lucky Thusi
Southern Courier News Editor

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