Earlier this week, the NY Times published an interesting article: A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley. Essentially, there is a growing movement among the technical gurus of Silicon Valley to seriously restrict their children’s use of cell phones and tablets. Interesting, but not surprising. As my husband says, it’s pretty obvious that smart phones and tablets are not good for kids, especially when you see them so sedate and glued to the screen. Normal heathy kids should be running around, playing outside, and using their imaginations. Most parents would agree that we need to limit the amount of time our children spend in front of the screen; many parents struggle to do so.
With two teenagers in the house (how did that happen so fast?), I have become increasingly concerned about the dangers and effects of the internet and social media on our young people. I’m particularly worried about pornography, although internet, video game and social media addictions are also a concern. Have you seen any of the latest statistics on children/teens and the internet?
- 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography online before the age of 18.
- The first exposure to pornography among boys is 12 years old, on average.
- 83% of boys and 57% of girls are exposed to group sex online.
- 71% of teens have done something to hide their online activity from their parents.
- 28% of 16-17-year-olds have unintentionally been exposed to pornography online.
These stats are unsettling, aren’t they? We need to protect our kids from the dangers of the internet. But with smart phones and iPads being ubiquitous, the task seems almost impossible. Of course, we need to use parental controls and put filters on our routers. (Here is a great list of resources.) However, even if we have the most sophisticated parental controls and filter systems, our kids are still in danger. After all, our children have friends, and their friends (will) have smart phones, apple watches, iPads, and laptops. And who knows how protected their gadgets are?
Parental controls, filters, and monitoring tools. They are a no brainer.
But we can’t stop there.