This is a must read for all parents who are currently raising kids.
Brandi Holmes, an acquaintance of mine on Facebook shared a message that I think all parents need to hear:
“I’m going to share something that may step on a few toes….
Technology has changed the way we live, and significantly impacted the lives of our children. I love the fact that either of my kids can contact me if their bus is late, etc. However, all of this has a consequence.
I’m writing this to every parent I know-
DO NOT be so naive as to think that YOUR little angel can be trusted with a phone that has open access. While on vacation with my children this past weekend, they started asking some questions (which we always encourage) about things they’ve heard kids talking about on the bus, at school, at a friends house- and I would be lying if it didn’t make both my husband and I sick. It was questions like “What does (blank) mean”? However, the “blank” was stuff that I hadn’t even heard of until later in high school, things that are sexual in nature…
There are children in the 5th grade that are watching porn on their phones. Your sweet 7th grader at KMS is getting SnapChat photos sent to them from a girl with her hand down her pants. In the cafeteria, kids are sharing nude photos via “AirDrop” to anyone in their vicinity that has that feature.
However, the one that broke my heart was my youngest son sharing with me a story his friend told him. The friend, in the 5th grade, said he was with a group of boys at a house playing games, while one of the other boys was watching something on his phone that had “strange moaning noises” coming from it. The boy said “what on earth are you watching?”- so the other kid showed him. It was graphic porn. What the boy said to my son has played in my head since I heard it- he said ” I wish that I had never seen it, I can’t stop thinking about it, and it changed my MIND”…..
Did you hear that? It changed the way his mind thought about things….he can’t unsee it. It was just too much for him, and he’ll never be the same. That statement absolutely broke my heart.
Parents- PLEASE don’t give your kids open access to the internet. Safari, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, etc….these are not safe programs for your kids to have access to without boundaries. AirDrop needs to be disabled. Don’t allow them to install an app without your approval first. Don’t let your kids have their phones in their room at night. Don’t use the excuse “Well he uses it as an alarm clock in the morning”. Buy an old fashioned alarm for them.
If you are not sure how to place parameters and restrictions around them, ask someone. If you don’t, be prepared for the consequences.”
Thank you Brandi for sharing your message on Facebook and allowing me to share with others as well. I agree with you. We need to protect our children. That is priority #1 as a parent. I. In the era in which we live, technology can be the greatest threat to our children. It doesn’t have to be, but it can be when the right restrictions, regulations, and parameters are not put in place. Does this all sound over dramatic? I don’t think so… keep reading.
Here is a posting from Facebook that went viral. The settings on the posting are public so I am sharing to help spread the word.
Kids YouTube is not completely safe. We think it is, but the regulators only catch so much of the bad stuff. For every bad video they delete another three are added. They are simply unable to keep the content completely clean on Kids YouTube. Doc Smitty, a trusted advisory source for kids and technology called Kids YouTube “The Wild West”. I would have to agree with Doc Smitty. Kids YouTube is not allowed in our home and here is why. What happens on Kids YouTube is that there are truly evil people who make videos using cartoon characters doing explicit and harmful things to themselves and others. They teach kids how to commit suicide and how to cut themselves. In cartoons! What may look like an innocent and cute cartoon on the preview turns incidious when clicked. Sometimes these videos begin to play after a video ends, meaning it auto plays as the next video in cue. These videos are hidden in the content and cue lineups unbeknownst to parents. And likely unbenowst to Kids YouTube until they can catch it and delete it. But again, more of these horrid videos get added as quickly as the others are deleted. Here is an article about Kids YouTube and the inappropriate content: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/blogs-trending-39381889
So what are the solutions? Disney Circle is one option recommended by Doc Smitty. This is a device that you install at home and allows parents to filter content on devices within the home. It also allows parents to set time limits on devices.
My kids are 5, 5, and 7. We use Kindle Fire Tablets. They are not on the World Wide Web. No access. They have child friendly content downloaded on these devices including games, videos, and shows. They have time limits too. Nothing goes beyond a G rating on the Kindles for our kids.
Another solution is no cable. We cut ours. I don’t miss it. We have an antenna and our kids get PBS. That’s if they are lucky and well behaved. I know it may sound drastic and severe to some, but their little minds are sponges and I don’t want them absorbing garbage that will affect their minds and development. Garbage in, garbage out. My goal is to limit the garbage as long as possible.
Another solution is the “Wait Until 8th Grade” pledge. Our household is on board with this pledge. Our kids will not own smart phones until at least the 8th grade. When we do cross that bridge I will be on top of filters, parental watch features, and no apps without my permission. https://www.waituntil8th.org/
And another thought to add to all of this…Are you concerned about what kind of friends your child has? Would you let them be around kids who tell them to kill themselves, hurt themselves, or curse at them? Not likely. Well, when you let them play with other gamers online, they come into contact with players and “friends” who you know nothing about. There are kids out there saying horrible things to other kids through these games. I saw this first hand about 12 years ago. The cursing and belittling from one young teen to another blew my mind! This is not anything new. But I think it surprises parents when it finally happens in their home and to their child.
Your child can’t un-hear it.
Your child can’t un-see it.
Your child can’t un-feel it.
Protect your child by tightening up your home technology reigns. It’s not the government’s job or anyone else’s to protect your child from the harms of technology. It’s the job of each and every parent.
And on an entirely different level of scary, human traffickers are using online video games to lure their victims. All those parents who are worried about their children getting snatched at the mall or in a Walmart parking lot are worried about the wrong place of threat. The real threat is in your own home. It is the access that these predators are getting through games and online access that your children are allowed. This isn’t just happening overseas. Last month, in St. Petersburg, FL, there was a string of arrests of human traffickers who were targeting kids online through games. Here is a article about it: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/human-traffickers-new-tool-to-lure-children-online-video-games-20190121/%3ftemplate=amp