The world has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Our kids are being raised with unprecedented access to technology.
If your kids have a smartphone, they carry the entire internet in their back pocket with all its knowledge and information, but also its pornography, cyberbullying, and creepy strangers.
Do you know what your kids are doing online?
It’s almost a guarantee that you don’t know half of what your child is being exposed to – either on their own technology, or that of their friends.
Most kids aren’t being exposed to porn for the first time directly from porn sites, but from apps like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram.
This is depressing. Horrible. Frightening. How do we escape it? How do we protect our kids?
Maybe your instinct is to say no to all technology. But is that being too narrow? How do you know if you’re being too conservative?
The reality is, we can’t get rid of technology. The internet is here to stay. This is the world we live in. We have to help our kids manage it so we can minimise the damage.
Find out what your kids are being exposed to. You’ll probably never get completely at home with it, but at least have a working knowledge of how the apps they are using work.
Did you know that Instagram is the most widely used social media platform among teens? It’s also popular with younger kids. The problem is, it’s also a popular gateway for sex traffickers targeting unsuspecting kids and teens. And it’s happening way more than parents realize – even to kids in stable homes!
What about TikTok? Everybody’s on it these days. It’s targeted at kids but not for kids.
Please, please educate yourself and read about TikTok here:
I wish I had done a better job of this. Begin conversations with your kids long before they stumble upon porn (and they will whether they are looking for it or not). Help your kids develop a plan for when they do encounter pornography.
Ask them what apps their friends have, why they want certain apps, what they will do with them. Do this in a friendly way – be open and interested in what interests your kids. If they are already using social media, ask them to show you how the apps work. Then go and do some research on those apps before you approve them.
If, after your research, you don’t feel happy about your child using an app, then it is your right and responsibility to tell them not to use it. If they have already been using it, this will be a bit harder. Own up to your lack of knowledge and explain your responsibility as a parent for their safety. Get them to buy into what you are saying.
A contract is designed to create an open line of communication between you and your teen regarding their cell phone. You want your child to become a well-rounded person who can co-exist with technology, and not be ruled by it. Studies show that self-control can be increased through “exercise”. Use technology to strengthen self-control in your child.
and the editable version here
Remember, having a cell phone is a privilege, not a right.
And consequences if your child breaks your rules. Read How to Discipline in the Digital Age for ideas on how to help your kids survive the onslaught directed at them.
I’m sharing a lot of information to help you, the parent. I urge you to do your homework so that you are not out of touch with what your kids are facing.
Don’t just assume they will stick to your rules. Restrict their phones or keep them safe with parental control apps.
Read this article on best parental control apps.
For best ways to lock down your child’s phone or monitor their use
For apps you can put on your child’s phone to keep them safe, read here.
We’re living in a digital wonderland as well as a nightmare. Learn how to protect your child from the dangers and teach them to use the internet and social media wisely.
Don’t assume that you are protecting your kids enough. Just because you have good kids or a good Christian home doesn’t mean they will not be hooked by pornography.
Victory loves preparation. Do your part to prepare your kids and they will be wise.
Do you know what your kids are being exposed to? How do you manage technology in your home? What would you add to this list?