These days kids of all ages are spending a vast amount of time online. From school research, online classes, web browsing, gaming, apps, social media, You-tube and more it seems like their online time is nearly limitless. Online safety, in this modern digital age, should be a top priority for parents who want to keep their teens safe.
What is a parent to do to protect their teens?
Does a parent even have the right to protect their teen online? Should teens simply have the privacy to use the internet in any way they wish?
I think you know where I’m going with this. Parents, inherently are given the responsibility to protect their children. This responsibility doesn’t end at the teen years. It’s imperative for parents to give their children safety and the security. And this includes protecting them online.
All parents are given this responsibility both in a moral and spiritual sense. But, as Christian parents we are given the responsibility to “train up” our children. Even if you are not a believer of the Word of God, societal values teaches this as true.
Parents can be held legally and financially responsible for their child’s actions. They are responsible for their education either by enrolling them in a public, Christian, private school, or by home-education in which they still must meet legal requirements.
So then, why would there be a question of ethics when a parent supervises their child’s internet activity.
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Reasons Why You Should Protect Your Teen Online
In the past 20 years the number if school shootings has been amazing. Each time they blame the children and even try them as adults, when then parents stand back and say “I didn’t know.”
If a parent is responsible for their child’s behavior, then why didn’t they know? If they are supervising, holding accountable, and training them for adulthood then a parent should be aware of what their teens are doing.
They should be aware of their child’s general state of mind.
Teens Don’t Know They Need You to Protect them Online
Parents should care enough to not trust their child with a tool that could cause them great danger. The internet is an awesome tool. Yet, there are vast arrays for how and why it can be used. It is filled with a wealth of unlimited information on every imaginable topic. It can also is a very dangerous tool.
Teens are not always aware of what is and what is not dangerous. In fact, their brains are still growing. Their frontal cortex is developing during the teen years and it’s in that area of the brain that controls emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgment, and sexual behaviors.
So during the teen years, they can be more vulnerable to making unwise decisions. They can’t always see when danger is right in front of them.
Teenagers don’t know what they’ve never learned. They can’t know everything, and they can’t be aware of all the dangers that exist. Truth is, even adults can’t know everything. But, parents can be better equipped to determine safe and unsafe because we have more knowledge and life experience.
Dangerous Internet Browsing
The internet is filled with dangerous images of pornography, bestiality, violence and all manner of evil. Without even intending to our children can so easily stumble upon a photo or story that at first they would likely find frightening. But then, adrenaline can kick in and out of curiosity find themselves caught in a web of evil.
They begin to hide what they are doing. They can begin to crave more of it and without even realizing how they got there they find they are addicted to something they never should have seen or been involved with in the first place, while the parent isn’t even aware.
Group Mentality Can Be a Bad Motivator
We’ve all heard it, and likely we’ve all said it at some time in our life… “But, everyone is doing it.”
But, with disappearing stories, teens can be vulnerable to being enticed to do what everyone else is doing. They think that with the snap disappearing, they can get away with no one finding out, no one knowing.
Apps like Instagram, Snap Chat, and others can be a fun way for friends to keep up with each other online.
But, consequences do not work that way. There will always be consequences for behavior. It may not be seen today, or even tomorrow, but reputations, relationships, even futures can be ruined over one thoughtless decision.
Teens have been known to use these apps to share inappropriate selfies, make inappropriate statements. And, they can even use these apps, or texting to “sext” with each other.
We hear about it all the time. Cyber bullying is becoming more and more prevalent in how teens are treating each other online.
Because there can seem to be anonymity associated with online discussions. People tend to forget that their words can do great harm.
Unsuspecting teens can fall prey to behaviors which can isolate, ridicule, and demean. This behavior has led to a rise in teen suicide, school shootings, and other violent behaviors.
Predators, the word itself should send chills down your spine. To think that there are men, and women, who are perusing the web with the express intent to stalk children. They prowl social media, YouTube, and apps looking for unsuspecting children, both boys and girls, that they can lure into an online relationship.
These are not good people. They are evil. Their desire is to entice children into giving them real life information so that they can find them and then cause them harm.
Don’t just think they are looking to lure children away from home. They are, but they also are looking for ways to grab, snatch and steal teens, and children of all ages right under their parents noses. They follow families they’ve seen online who’ve posted their schedule, the places they’ll be, the things they are doing so that they can grab children.
They sell children on the black market, they trade them for money, drugs, and more. They are abusers, and traffickers and aim to harm any child they can get their hands on.
As parents we MUST, protect our children. If someone told me I couldn’t keep track of my child’s internet usage for some ridiculous legal reason, I would simply refuse to let him use it.
When I was young my parents would search my room or read my diary or look in my purse if they thought I was doing something they didn’t approve of. Did I like it? No. Was it the right thing to do? Yes.
They did it to protect and teach me right from wrong. That was their responsibility. It is now mine. It is yours.
Internet Safety Tools for Parents to Protect Their Teens Online
Discover more about internet safety and how you as a parent can be on the forefront of online protection for your teens. I recommend following Leah Neiman on her site, blog, and across social media.
Easy to Use Parental Control Tool
Don’t find yourself in the “I didn’t know” place. Just as you would keep an eye on your infant or toddler, you MUST keep an eye on your pre-teens and teenagers. Because if you don’t, you can be sure Satan will and he’s seeking to destroy your child’s innocence.
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