It’s scary raising kids in today’s world! Flip on the television, read the news; it’s nearly impossible to not stumble upon a story that is heart aching and anxiety provoking. We take the proper measures to ensure our young people’s safety. We instruct them to buckle their safety belts in the car. There is the chiding to not speak to strangers. As they grow our rules and focus in ensuring a safe upbringing shifts with their environment. This is where cyber safety should raise eyebrows and create a desire to know more about what to look for.
You can find a great risk and danger to our young people in nearly every home. It’s under the radar. We underestimate the potential for harm. It then sneaks into our kids hearts and minds opening a doorway for unlimited danger. You can find the greatest threat to our young people is in the cell phone. Cyber safety is something we overlook and underestimate. As a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle it is critical to be aware. This includes the apps which pose the greatest risk for teens.
The cyber world and cell phones are an area where we cannot claim ignorance. Kids are innately drawn to communicate with peers; being in touch with what’s in, out and being talked about. A cell phone is the perfect platform for communication. In a relatively short time, it is now ideal stage for drastic misuse and an open door for predators. The teenage brain is not fully developed and prime for impulsive decisions with lack of scope for repercussions beyond the now. So what does all this mean? How does it impact our kids? I’m glad you asked:)
Two Apps that pose a safety risk for teens….
Snap Chat: It’s fun to send pics with added features like fairy wings or adding a funny comment, but it’s not always used for happy goodness. Snap Chat gives me legit angst. Whether it’s the pic of someone’s boobs, or any other body part you can imagine, this is ideal for sending inappropriate pics. It’s easy to think, “not my kid,” but when it boils down to someone pressuring your daughter (greater percentage) or son to prove they really care about them; things can happen.
These pics that may be sent with full intention of it going to one viewer. Other eyes will view this and the drama and embarrassment it will cause is gut wrenching. What I relay to students is that if they forward a picture it is child pornography. In most schools, it is immediately brought to the attention of the local authorities and it’s a whole different ball game. Very few are aware that hitting send and forwarding a picture can land them in some very hot water.
protecting our kids by knowing what to look for:
* With many of these apps, kids can have a heap of people that have access to their snap chat story and snap chats that they don’t even know. Pictures can sometimes narrow down the location of where a young person is. Young people make an easy target and are a troller can address them with poor intent.
It is easy to have the wrong ‘friend’ violate trust on social media sites that prey on them.This is scary stuff!
You can save pictures and quickly find them in the wrong hands. There have been instances where inappropriate pictures have been used as a form of blackmail in exchange for sexual acts. Snap Chat facts…
1) pictures sent are not secure: You may be thinking, “What? No way!” But when first installing the app you must ‘agree’ that the pics you send are not your property. Snap Chat owns them. The out of sight, out of mind mentality isn’t the case at all. 2) your phone will notify you when someone takes a screen shot (take a pic of the pic being sent), but there are now apps that do away with this or it’s easy to take by another phone. So that secret pic, isn’t so secret anymore. 3) kids can bully the crap out of each other with this app through pics, added comments whether on a quick snap chat or their snap chat story.
Find this confusing? Hop on google and learn about screen shots, snap chat stories, live videos and snap chat bullying. Knowledge is power.
Tinder: So I’m sixteen and I’d like to kick it around a dating site. False. There are the handful that utilize it to chat and meet new people. The other 98.67 % use it as a means to connect with others to date, hook up or for a one night stand. It generates those in your area, what they’re looking for and allows for a five minute text to become a time and place for hooking up or sex.
This merely reinforces the lack of value for yourself or others in making a sexual encounter as ‘quick’ and ‘convenient’ as ordering a pizza. It’s pathetic, empty and often very dangerous. Even if looking for a quick hook up or one night stand there is still the naivety that they aren’t meeting up with: a psycho path, rapist or whatever else I’m leaving out.
Cyber safety and ways we can protect our children
So I scared you; mission accomplished. Whatever apps your kids purchase, make sure your account is linked to theirs. Know what they are buying or downloading for free and check frequently. Look on their phones; you have every right to do that. Chat with your kids about inappropriate pics and the words or pics they forward to their peers. Encourage them to know who is on their ‘friend’ list and to never post pics with their full name, where they go to school. Have them turn off their location settings (this is a scary one for child predators).
In the future, I will also be addressing a few other apps that are impacting our kids. These are: Kik, Yik Yak, Whisper, Periscope and Ask.Fm. Feel free to google these if you’d like to know before hand.
If you have questions, kick me an email or leave a message in the contact form below. I will be holding a webcast in a few weeks breaking down in detail a few more apps concerning cyber safety. To get access, please sign up for my newsletter so you can jump on board. Remember, knowledge is power!
Take a few deep breathes and rock out your week…you can do it!
Peace, love & goodness!
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