Internet consumption has increased among children in today’s world. They use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Skype to get a look into the world that could potentially be dangerous if not monitored. Parents are so buy that they are giving children free to roam right on the internet and many of them are partaking in behavior that you and I would never dream of. It’s a fact that many children are not monitored on the internet. They partake in online gaming, hours of power surfing and chatting online with instant messaging and SKYPE until the early hours of the morning.
Kids are finding ways of hiding internet activity from parents.
- Delete cookies
- Clear history
- Make 2nd profiles that only include their friends
- Start 2nd email accounts to connect to those accounts
- Block status updates and photos from parents
- Use computers at a friends house
- Accessing information from their phones
McAfee released information about Teens and online usage that I want to share with you. Funny thing is this came out right after I needed it.
Risky online habits, behaviors, and interests, that the first generation to truly grow up online, are getting into:
- Viewing Pornography – 36% have access sexual topics online, and 32% have accessed nude content or pornography online.
- Only 12% of parents thought their children accessed pornography online.
- Bullying – 62.1% of all teens have witnessed cruel behavior online and 23.3% have claimed to be targets of cyber bullying. 9.5% of teens actually bullying, and 24.9% positing mean comments.
- Only 10% of parents believe their teens have been targeted online.
- Breaking the Law – Over half of teens (51%) report they have hacked someone’s social network account, 31% reported pirating movies and music.
- Less than 1 in 10 parents are aware their children are engaging in any of these behaviors.
- Cheating – 15% of teens having admitted to looking test answers on their phone, and 48.1% of teens having looked up assignment and test answers online.
o 77.2% of parents are not worried about their kids cheating at school.
Think about all the hours your child spends in their room at the computer.
What are they doing?
Who are they talking to?
Would you approve?
How would you ever know if your not checking on them?
I, personally, do not allow my children on the internet unless I’m in the room and can see the screen. Either my husband or I are sit with the younger children while on the internet. Our family computer is located in the living room and I have full view of the screen from the couch, from the kitchen table and while standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes.
I have a daughter who just started Junior High and the school requires her to have access to the computer for assignments, connecting with the teacher and searching for information. While I can understand all that is important and the internet is full of a mass majority of information at your fingertips I can’t help but think about all the inappropriate online content and activities kids can participate in if we are not paying attention or limiting usage.
Earlier this summer my daughter was involved in unacceptable online behavior. A girl introduced her to online child pornography, voyeurism and profanity. She has a SKYPE acct set up with over 26 male names she connected with. For those of you who don’t know what SKYPE is basically it allows you to video chat with someone along with typing for in chat for secrecy and privacy.
I just so happen needed to use the laptop to check on email and take care of some business when I discovered the a world I tried to shelter my daughter from. Someone was typing in chat that popped up on my screen. After the 3rd name popped up “xxx rated xxx” I obviously new this wasn’t going to be good. realized I was a failure. Not only were the girls conversing with someone who wouldn’t reveal their identity but the person would only show half of their body and that didn’t include their face. While something like this would raise a red flag among adults he claimed that his camera broke and then the camera went down on his end but he said he can still see them.
The disgusting pig asked the girls to show their body parts. They did. (gasping isn’t it?!)
He asked for them to do other things. His written text was so vulgar it made me throw up in my mouth. It was completely disgusting!! unimaginable for these girls to even know what he was talking about just makes me so sad and yet I realize that this is a fact that there are people out there who contact minors on the internet and ask them to participate in this behavior.
I have never in my life ever would of dreamed my own daughter would not just walk away and tell an adult. I’ve spoke to her about these things over and over. Told her what she should not do. What she should look out for. The school even held assembly’s about this very topic and yet she still participated because she thought the girl would be mad at her if she didn’t.
It broke my heart that they didn’t realize the dangers of the internet. They gave personal information. Mentioned schools and locations. To say that I’m still terrified is an understatement. We could walk by this person at the grocery store and never know it because the girls never saw a face.
Potentially this could of ended badly but thankfully we caught them and stopped it in time. We reported users, deleted profiles and grounded the girls from using the internet.
BUT is it enough?
Peer pressure is real.
Kids are on the internet doing things they shouldn’t be doing.
Many times they are not doing it at home but at a friends house.
Kids are curious. They hunger for information. They hunger for fun. They want to grow up too soon.
Voyeurism, Profanity, Defiance are happening among our youth and if parents don’t wake up they could find themselves in a situation like DATELINE NBC “To Catch a Predator” with Chris Hansen. A show we’ve watched weekly with the kids.
A show that we’ve watched together for years and used as an example of what men look like who seek out young girls to have intimate relationships with on the internet and off. Things they say. What they do. What their intentions are. It’s disgusting. People like this need to be behind bars.
Only a small percentage of parents are using Parental Control software to protect their children from this kind of behavior. A small percentage exercises safety and awareness by attending and monitoring online internet activity by kids and teens. The other percentage either don’t care or don’t want to know.
If we don’t protect our children who will?
What type of parent are you? What percentage do you fall into?
disclosure: Names were not provided in this article to protect the minors involved. While this topic is personal I feel this information is better shared with others to bring it to your attention may help someone else. No compensation was provided from McAfee’ for their mention.