children · lifestyle

A new Danger..

There has been a lot of talk lately online about giving kids phones. One argument is that we as parents are literally handing kids danger and evil and just being okay with it. It would be like giving your kid the key to the liquor closet and they have access to everything. The other argument is that technology is good and having our kids figure out how to use it is good. I am stuck in the middle of both arguments. Yes there is so much evil and garbage out there and by giving our kids phones/tablets/computers, we are giving them access to all of that. On the other hand, technology and where we are as a society with it is amazing and inspiring. If you want to find anything out, you can find it online. No more huge volumes of encyclopedias.

My husband and I have an open phone policy with our 2 older kids who do have devices. They know that at any time, we can look at their phone and anything that is on it. We have looked at social media with them, checked their texts, and the best thing of all, we have a device called the circle which shuts off their usage by the times we put into it. It also blocks certain sites. I am actually thinking of having a no phone rule {except for calling} Sunday-Thursday and then they can use their phones for things other than calling on the weekend.

This is an issue that I did not have to deal with growing up so it is all new territory. When I was growing up, it was very difficult to find bad material. You actually had to go out of your way to find it. Now, people have to try to go out of their way NOT to see it. Pornography has now become an addiction like alcohol and drugs can become an addiction. Cyber bullying, foul language, body image shaming and feeling not good enough is an every day event online. This has been a topic of open discussion in our household even more so lately. Of course our kids will be exposed to things we don’t want them to be, so having an open conversation about what to do WHEN they see bad things online is so important. Is it fun to talk about pornography to your kids? Absolutely not. Is it vital? Absolutely! One of my jobs as a Mom is to not only protect my kids, but to also talk about the things I am trying to protect them from.

Some people say to ban teenagers from having smart phones and to just give them flip phones. I love that idea, but kids are going to find bad stuff anywhere, not just on phones. I think that if we educate kids as to WHY we don’t want to see pornography, WHY we don’t want them talking to people online that they don’t know, WHY we need to not compare ourselves to other people online than that is better than just shielding them from it when they are going to be exposed to it somehow. Talking to our kids about WHAT they are going to do WHEN they see bad images/video, WHEN they see bullying, WHEN they see all of this garbage online and giving them the tools to manuever in this new cyber world we are living in is just SO IMPORTANT. Kids are curious and their minds are not developed all the way.

When I was growing up, my teachers were talking to us about Drugs. Don’t do Drugs was the big thing. We knew that drugs were bad because they messed with your mind and your body. Now it is a new drug that we need to teach our kids about and it is actually scarier than drugs because it is easier to get than drugs. Talk to your kids about the dangers that are online. Be open with them and they will be open with you. Don’t be embarrassed about talking to your kids about pornography, sex, body shaming, bullying, foul language, sexting, and inappropriate language/videos. If they don’t hear it from you, who are they going to hear it from? If you are too uncomfortable, they will be uncomfortable and seek out advise from the wrong sources. In a day and age of people speaking out for what is right/wrong, we as parents need to speak directly and openly to our kids about the dangers that are all around us.

Being a parent is hard, but it is also so rewarding. Having open discussions with your kids bonds you to your kids and makes them feel safe and loved. My children have talked to us about hard things because they feel safe to talk to us about those topics. You can do it. Teach your kids, be open with your kids and protect your kids!

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