Last week, I wrote about three ways to protect our children from the dangers of the internet. Here are two more ways to keep our children safe and strong in our digital age.
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.
Some of you are going to think I’m nuts, but so be it. We’re doing something extreme this summer, something pre-historic and archaic, something that will make most parents shudder…
We’re going media free!
Well… actually, we’ve always been.
You know how there are no-smoking zones? Our home is a no video-game zone. None. Zilch. Zero. The rule is, “If you want to play a video game, you’ve got to program it first.” We’ve got Scratch and Bitsbox. If my kids want to be creative on the computer, they can do so (after all their chores are done). But they have to be producers, not consumers. Programming time is limited to half an hour a day. Even so, my kids would rather just not. And (I hope you’re sitting!) we don’t own a T.V. or an iPad.