Accessibility is the new normal.
With one device our kids can order Pizza, watch Pornography and Meet New People. People we know nothing about. Take a look at these statistics from an article entitled “Online Safety For Kids” at FindLaw.com.
- 71% of teens 13-17 say they received messages online from someone they did not know.
- 40% of those receiving messages said they usually reply and chat back.
- 30% of teens 13-17 have considered meeting someone they have only talked to online.
- 14% have actually had an encounter with someone they met online.
When I was growing up the best advice was don’t ever take candy from strangers and never get in their van, yet our kids have the opportunity to get into a digital van every waking minute of every day. If we wanted pizza, we went to this place called a restaurant. Pornography was a magazine hidden behind the counter at the liquor store.
To say that that times have changed is a laughable understatement. The question is, what are we doing about it? As parents we need to not only get up to speed, but ahead of the digital curve! (In Friday’s post I will give 10 ways to protect your kids online)
If we don’t get ahead of the curve we will end up frustrated and punishing our kids more for what they get into instead of helping them to avoid inappropriate content all together. Here is a great reminder for all of us.
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6 NLT
Directing our children onto the right path is not a one time thing on our to do list, it’s a constant and consistent approach, it’s a philosophy, it’s our role and it “ain’t” easy.
Picture this. You have just won a brand new red V-12 Ferrari with 800 horse power. It can accelerate to 120 MPH in less than seven seconds and the speed tops out at over 200mph in 15 seconds! With that in mind, would you allow your 12 year old daughter to drive it? Would you just hand her the keys and say, “enjoy the drive?” No! And you wouldn’t put her in the trunk either! Not the driver and not isolated completely. She would be a passenger, right next to you on the journey. Maybe we could take this approach with our children when it comes to their digital world.
The internet is a wonderful tool with the full horse power of a Ferrari. Simply handing our children the keys is inviting a sure accident. We don’t need to panic, “freak out” or worry, they are all unproductive. If each of us would simply be aware and take the first step we would be one step further than we were yesterday.
A great first step is knowing where your kids are going digitally. Ask to see their phone, tablet or computer. Remember, if you find something inappropriate don’t over react, “take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the master.” Let me leave this post with three reminders.
Reminder Number 1:
We aren’t living in a “worse” time just a “different” time.
Reminder Number 2:
In the garden, when Adam and Eve blew it, God came with a question not condemnation, a question mark not an exclamation point. There is something here for each of us as parents.
Reminder Number 3:
Stay calm, deep breath, carry on!
What additional steps can you take to walk with your child on their media connected journey? Share your answer. It may just help someone else.
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Face only - shutterstock.com Image ID: 202993966 © cristovao