Keeping our kids safe in today’s increasingly online world is a constant battle. The internet, while providing us with endless information at our fingertips, is also a breeding ground for predators.
Strangers are entering our homes. Not through the front door, but through our children’s phones.
And it’s not just happening in the news or to strangers. It’s happening in our communities and our neighborhoods. It’s happening to our children’s friends. And it could even happen to your child.
Think it doesn’t? Think again. A friend of mine contacted the police on the weekend. A person claiming to be a 15-year-old boy was attempting to “groom” one of her daughters online. Thankfully, her daughter told her what was happening and they were able to address it before it was too late.
But not all stories turn out like this one. How do we keep our kids safe? How do we shield and protect our children while at the same time, giving them access to technology?
In a Facebook post that is quickly going viral, Jenn Kish of Sprinkles In My Closet, reminds us of the importance of staying vigilant when it comes to our children, devices and the internet.
Her stance is firm. When it comes to internet access, there is zero privacy. ZERO. And clearly? It is resonating with parents. The post has already had 2.5K likes and 5.5K shares in just 3 hours.
Jenn begins her post with the following words:
This phone belongs to my 14 year old daughter. It’s charging on my kitchen counter. At 9pm, every single night, her phone shuts itself down and she brings it here.
Why? It’s how I keep her safe.
But it’s not just about the physical location of the phone. It’s also about what apps are allowed on the phone. Jenn doesn’t allow any social media. Her daughter has an app that she uses to communicate with friends and family, and Jenn checks her phone and messages regularly.
Monitoring our children’s device use is crucial. Unrestricted access to social media apps, games and chat rooms, and the internet as a whole is a gateway to trouble.
And it’s not just her daughter that she is protecting. Her 11-year-old son also has boundaries and limitations set on his devices.
My nearly 12 year old son asked me two days ago if I would connect his PS4 to the internet so he could play with friends outside of the house. I said no.
I have had the same discussion multiple times with all three of my kids. I have said “No” to numerous games because of their access to online chats and messaging, often to the wailing and crying of “But all of my friends are on it!”
Because at the end of the day?
These devices, left unchecked, will allow people into our homes at any hour of any day. There is no escape. And I’ve created this home to be an escape.
We want our homes to be our safe place. Our children’s safe place. We need to know that no matter what Big Bad is happening out in the world, that they are protected within the four walls of our homes. And the biggest threat to that? Isn’t physical. It’s in the invisible. It’s online.
Inappropriate content, cyberbullying, and cyber-predators are all REAL threats that our children face every single time that they log on.
Do you know what your kids are doing online? Who they are talking to? Do you know what they are SEEING? Danger is lurking behind the screens. Pornography and sexual predators, targeting our kids, are rampant.
And once our children are exposed? There is no going back. There is no do-over. We can’t rewind. And our children? Are the ones who suffer and the price? May be more than you ever thought they would have to pay.
Jenn finishes her post with the following words of advice:
Check the phones. Monitor their online presence. If you allow social media make sure you’re one of their most engaged followers.
They probably won’t like that. You’ll get some pushback. Parent anyway.
Parent anyway. It is not our role to be our children’s friends.
We are not supposed to give them whatever their hearts desire. It is our job to keep them safe. To be vigilant and to educate ourselves on the dangers that they are facing in the digital world.
It is also our responsibility to not just shield our children, but to equip them with the weapons they need to armor themselves. Because make no mistake. The internet? And social media? They are battlefields.
This phone belongs to my 14 year old daughter. It’s charging on my kitchen counter. At 9pm, every single night, her…