Dear Carers Of Teens

Social Media Dangers Teens Kids Parents Carers Safety Online Internet ThrifDeeDubaiDo 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 –
  1. 1174 – Meet at a party spot
  2. 420 – Marijuana reference
  3. 53X – Code for sex
  4. 8 – Code for oral sex
  5. 99 – Parents are gone
  6. CU46 – See you for sex
  7. 9 & CD9 – “Code 9”, parents are around
  8. GNOC – Get naked on cam
  9. GYOP – Get your pants off
  10. IWSN – I want sex now
  11. KMN – Kill me now
  12. KMS – Kill myself
  13. KYS – Kill yourself
  14. LH6 – Let’s have sex
  15. MOS – Mom over shoulder
  16. MPFB – My personal **** buddy
  17. Netflix and chill – Getting together and hooking up
  18. NIFOC – Nude in front of computer
  19. P911 – Parent alert
  20. PAW – Parents are watching
  21. PIR – Parent in room
  22. TDTM – Talk dirty to me
  23. Thot – Stands for “that hoe over there” and is often used instead of “slut”
  24. TWD – Texting while driving
  25. 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!!

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21 Comments

  1. 24/03/2018 / 6:08 pm

    What an eye opener and I echoed your sentiments. It surpises me that some parents will purposefully open an fb account for a child who is only 10 years old and twitter too.

    And I see the parents and the kids updating post with check in location and I’m like what is all that for?

    Alhamdullah I’m not a social slave to social media and so are my kids. We dont post our pics up for the world to see, or to share with others our personal matters. we’re very private person and that seems to rub off on my kids. They’re very comfortable being “invisible” to the virtual world.

    • 24/03/2018 / 6:47 pm

      I think that’s the best way to be… I used to always post pics of my little one & subhanAllah she would almost always become ill after…. I think it was Ayn… best way to be protected is to just not invite ayn into your life by posting pics

  2. Safiyah
    24/03/2018 / 12:45 pm

    Definitely frightening. This leads to putting importance on open and accepting dialogue with one’s child in the first place, allowing for transparency and letting them know they can return to you no matter what issues they’re facing and no matter what questions they have. May Allah protect the youth as the world changes and develops into something practically incontrollable, amin!

    My favorite takeaways from your article:

    “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!”

    “They may think these can be deleted, but ANYTHING you post can always be recovered…. Internet is forever!”

    • 24/03/2018 / 1:07 pm

      Ameen! Yes its definetly frightening! Thank you so much for your feedback! Means a lot that people can take something away from this!

      Let’s hope we can somehow create a trusting bond with kids so things never get this far out of control!

  3. 24/03/2018 / 1:33 am

    This is so scary Aisha. I can’t believe this is how far technology has come with kids now (We had no phones in school) and how much more we have to worry about our kids when they do go to school. Ya rabbi, it makes me really really want to homeschool.

  4. 24/03/2018 / 1:00 am

    wow! Had no idea about those codes – what an eye opener – even though I remember teaching some internet safety to year 6 children (that was ages ago way before social media went viral) I think having the open relationship with your kids is important too – so whether they have problems online or off line they come to you for help – thanks for sharing!

  5. 22/03/2018 / 5:44 pm

    One of the reasons I am quite strict with my 11 (almost 12 year old). She started secondary school and I got her a basic phone just for emergencies. She is not allowed a smart phone..she does have an old one but thats just for games when we go on a long journey and she can play in the car. No FB and twitter. She only has a school email. Obviously I don’t know what she is doing at school but as they only have a 45 minute lunch break I am hoping she isn’t getting involved in all this.

    • 23/03/2018 / 12:03 am

      Yes good idea! I wish we could go back to the days of the old brick Nokia’s, when the only concern was how much “snake” they would play 😂

  6. 22/03/2018 / 4:17 pm

    My mum had given my baby brother a phone this year as he just went into Year 7 – for safety purposes. He abused this by hiding certain things from her, he no longer spent any time with his family and he was hidden away in his room from dusk till dawn on his phone. It got to a point where my mum had enough and she took the phone off him as he did not know how to use it moderately. He is now a changed boy – he spends time with his family, he is always downstairs, he’s nicer and more polite – it has made the biggest difference!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

    • 22/03/2018 / 8:01 pm

      Such a scary thought, especially being so young! I can totally understand why she took it away!

  7. Farhana Sharmeen
    22/03/2018 / 4:55 am

    Salam, very insightful, mashaAllah. Not giving the kids a smart phone is the way to go about it, especially if you’re concerned about your kid’s safety with all the shooting around. They will STILL get a lot of information from their peer but at least you’d tried to minimize the damage. Also, have specific rules about phone’s usage and the consequence of not following the rules. Make sure you follow through every time to establish good phone habit. Keep them occupied with wholesome activities when they’re home.
    Lastly, it’s imperative that you preach what you practice.

  8. 21/03/2018 / 11:05 pm

    Thanks for your feedback, I wish more parents were aware & even to myself firstly. I know social media well, but there are still aspects you can never keep control of. Which is frightening!

  9. 21/03/2018 / 10:28 pm

    I’m so glad you have written this piece addressing this particular subject. I remember seeing these images going around Facebook and it was heartbreaking to see. I think parents need to know more about social media, times are changing. I have only just started using it, I did not understand it but then I told myself I need to learn. I am so glad I did because I can see there are endless communities out there now and if you don’t take the time to learn you will get left behind. Thanks for educating us on such a vulnerable subject

  10. 21/03/2018 / 6:59 pm

    I seek refuge in Allah. Jazakillahkhayr you informative, important alert!

  11. livebythesunshine
    16/03/2018 / 9:43 pm

    This is so thought provoking! Not only does it make me think about my 10 year old niece and nephew, but also the bullying that I received as kid via AIM and the strangers I talked to without my parents knowing. It’s all crazy.

  12. 16/03/2018 / 8:27 pm

    Social media is rather scary for kids. We just do not think things through at that age.

  13. 16/03/2018 / 5:33 pm

    Thats a unknown truth of each child his parents dont know or dont want to know. Its truth that kids are exposed to many such things which is ultimately destorying their childhood.

  14. 16/03/2018 / 4:25 pm

    Yes!!!! This post is so true! I have a teenager and a preteen (both boys). Only my teenager has a phone but there are a TON of restrictions on it and we heavily monitor his social media. It is scary at times though because you never know what your going to find!

  15. 16/03/2018 / 4:59 am

    ugh… I am not looking forward to when my daughter hits this stage.. it is so scary!

  16. 16/03/2018 / 1:31 am

    Oh gosh, if this doesn’t make me nervous about having children! I can only imagine it will get worse. I know several people my nieces age that have a “spam account” that only certain people have access to. They are in high school, and often post pictures of themselves that they wouldn’t want their “primary” account users to see. Its a scary thing!

  17. 15/03/2018 / 5:38 pm

    Yes this is scary! My boy is only 2 and I wonder what it will be like when he is a teen.

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