Do you have ANY idea what kids get up to on social media? You may think you do!
Fact of the matter is, most of us can say we have a grasp, a control over our kids social media habits, but there is so much we don’t know & so much danger our kids are exposed to!
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I’ll say it time & time again, do NOT let your kids have social media, or at the very least don’t let your kids’ social media accounts go un-monitored!
I’ve been going over & over this topic for quite some time, but today it became clear to me that I should say something. Recently something was shared on my news feed on Facebook & I have to say, although it’s something everyone thinks they know about, in all honesty, we have no clue what kids/teens get up to online! This was a real eye opener!
Skippper Coates a Junior High School teacher from the US posted an alarming account of what her pupils had written in class. She says –
Working in a Junior High is really interesting. I see these little people in their most awkward and most emotional stage of life. I teach them science, but when I have time I try to squeeze in some life lessons and mentoring. But it doesn’t work if I’m not willing to really hear and understand their situations and problems. Lately, I’ve been really concerned about their mental health, bullying, and social media use.
Today I asked three of my classes to finish this sentence: “What my parents don’t know about social media is…”
You guys. The answers were SICKENING. Heartbreaking. Depressing.
Parents of the world, WAKE. UP. Your kids are living in a world that you are not invited to be part of. And they know how to keep you out. Your teenager DOES NOT NEED a smart phone.
I asked 85 ninth-graders (ages 14-15) to finish the sentence.
FIVE said they don’t have social media accounts. Five!
All 85 kids have an average academic grade of an “A”… by all accounts they are “good kids.”
Here are the common things confessed by the 80 kids with social media accounts.
This is truly sickening! I have often fought with my teenage son about the use (& abuse) of social media.
This goes out to those who aren’t parents too! Aunties, Uncles, Cousins….. if your an elder, you should keep an eye on the younger ones, you’re just as responsible, they’re your family too! If teachers are worried for our kids mental health, well-being & safety, we should all be!
Yes you can say kids need space, but do they need space with strangers? Would you leave them unattended with a strange adult in a room alone?? So why would you allow it online? OK you say it may be a virtual thing, there’s no real harm in it… WRONG! These things are very real, child sex predators are very real, cyber bullying is very real!
Teens today are the first generation that cannot imagine life without the Internet and their devices! Our electronic gadgets have become extensions of our bodies, I was talking to my son about trainers (sneakers) the other day & saying the stuff kids wear nowadays, my generation were the first ones to wear them! I told him jokingly
“we set the trend darling” …. To which he replied sarcastically, “Yeah no internet!” …… That shut me right up! 😛
You can see the importance the internet has on the youth of today! & There are many dangers kids can face online, but these can be avoided sometimes, if we are to allow them use of social media/devices then we need to teach these youngsters the proper uses of technology & how it really should be utilised.
We may find we have less issues!
6 Real Dangers Of Social Media That Shouldn’t Be Ignored By An Adult –
- Strangers – Take this seriously! It can be a “friend” on Xbox or an Instagram buddy.
- Sharing too much – Did they really need to “check in” their location or open SnapMap? Anyone can see where they are.
- Deleting – Be wary of deleted history/chats/pictures a clear indication of them doing something they shouldn’t.
- Digital Information – Be careful! Every picture they post holds vital digital information that can lead anyone to your kids most visited locations! (School/Home/Favorite place to hang out) You don’t need to “check in” to a location to be found, there is ways and means just by hitting “save” on a picture!
- Unfriending – If your kid is your friend on Facebook (which they should be) & you find they “unfriend” you, see it as a warning sign of their suspicious activity online, maybe they have a “friend” they don’t want you to see commenting on their stuff or they’re posting inappropriate content.
- Changing Passwords -Another tell tale sign your kid is up to no good, you should have full access to any of their accounts & the moment they change the password. They are hiding something!
We need to be on top of them. There is no “space” when that space involves such dangers. I’ve tried quite a few parental safety applications & only one that’s worked well enough without having to buy a subscription is Qustudio the free version has more than enough to keep an eye on the activities your kids get up to online.
It has a full rundown on any given device you set it up with. You can control & block them from visiting certain sites & even have it lock them out at a time you choose. You can view their full browsing history & see what they’ve been searching for.
A list of secret “codes” kids use online EVERY adult should be aware of –
- 1174 – Meet at a party spot
- 420 – Marijuana reference
- 53X – Code for sex
- 8 – Code for oral sex
- 99 – Parents are gone
- CU46 – See you for sex
- 9 & CD9 – “Code 9”, parents are around
- GNOC – Get naked on cam
- GYOP – Get your pants off
- IWSN – I want sex now
- KMN – Kill me now
- KMS – Kill myself
- KYS – Kill yourself
- LH6 – Let’s have sex
- MOS – Mom over shoulder
- MPFB – My personal **** buddy
- Netflix and chill – Getting together and hooking up
- NIFOC – Nude in front of computer
- P911 – Parent alert
- PAW – Parents are watching
- PIR – Parent in room
- TDTM – Talk dirty to me
- Thot – Stands for “that hoe over there” and is often used instead of “slut”
- TWD – Texting while driving
- WTTP – Want to trade pics?
Can you see my concern?? Kids don’t think about the stuff they post online, it’s really is surprising that they don’t give a second thought to it or think of the consequences it can have.
For instance, you often see the “hand signs” and gestures along with embarrassing pictures. They may think these can be deleted, but ANYTHING you post can always be recovered…. Internet is forever!
We need to remind them that they need to ask themselves some questions before hitting that “publish”.
Would you be comfortable with a future Boss or the Head of your school seeing it?
Are you okay with your grandmother seeing this?
Can someone that doesn’t like you use it against you later on?
Asking ourselves these questions can make us think twice, hoping the teens will think the same way.
In all honesty, we can’t baby them forever, but we can try our best to protect them from the likes of sexual predators & groomers praying on the likes of a rebelling teen who wants to vent about their “annoying” parents.
As parents & carers, we should totally ban the idea of any social media & IF they are allowed a device, make SURE it’s monitored, do NOT let them on it unless they are in a communal place in the home, no devices in the bedroom & certainly not in the bathroom!! (biggest venue for taking nudes!!) I may sound like a control freak, but we really need to have a firm grasp on this, even if we are the worlds worse “party pooper” to our kids! I’m willing to take being that pooper if it means keeping my kids safe!
What are your views on this wake up call? Would you take the same measures as me & totally ban devices in the home? or are you more lenient & trust what your kids get up to online? Let me know in the comments below & don’t forget to share!!