“Mom, can I have a smartphone when I go to high school?”, my son recently asked me. Um…NO!
Seriously? WHY would a parent get their pre-teen or teenager a smartphone or their own laptop or anything else that they can freely access the internet on? Do they not know the dangers? Not only are there perverts trolling for kids on the internet, but I’m also talking about the other sites your child will more than likely check out (and possibly frequent frequently?). “Bad kids” are not the only ones that will go to the adult sites…even good, church going kids go to those sites…either because of peer pressure or just curiosity or whatever…and it can easily get out of hand.
I asked a few parents whom I knew allowed their kids smartphones and/or their own personal laptops if they had internet and parental control software installed on those devices. ALL of them answered no. WHAT?!?! Are you kidding me?!
Those that know me, know that I tightly control my kids cellphone, computer and internet use. They are not allowed to have smartphones and the internet is not accessible on the cell phones they do have (I also can control WHO they call/text and the time of days they have service…and it’s cut off every night at 9pm), they are not allowed to have their own laptops or computers in their room…if they want to get online, they can use the family computer located in the family room that has tight parental controls and blocks on it. We have a PS3…I have disabled the internet browser on it. I frequently check my 14 and 11 year olds Facebook, games and email accounts (no, they are NOT entitled to privacy if they are under age and living in my home…I will have all passwords to any and all internet accounts that they have at all times). I see some of their friends on Facebook…and the things they say and do would make you blush! Trash talking each other, bullying, foul mouths, questionable pictures, etc. These are middle and high school kids (and some of them younger)! Where are these kids parents?!?! Do they not care what their child is saying or doing or SHOWING on the internet?! I worry for those kids.
I think that alot of parents are putting too much trust in their kids. I think they put temptation in their kids life (unintentionally in most cases) by letting them have unrestricted access to the internet. I wonder how many parents would be shocked if they went, right this moment, and looked at their child’s cellphone internet history or computer history…and found that they have been on adult sites (that is…unless your child has figured out how to delete the internet history). If they read their texts, I wonder how many would find out that their child has been sexting? I’ve read a few stories about kids as young as 13 getting arrested because they had been sexting. I watched a news report recently about kids becoming addicted to pornography as young as 12 and 13 years old, which you can view HERE . Is it because the parents have been too trusting? They didn’t bother putting parental blocks on their computer, they didn’t bother to check up on their internet activity….maybe they just don’t think about stuff like that, maybe they are uneducated about the dangers of the internet? I don’t think they are bad parents (unless they just don’t care)…but kids are getting alot smarter than the parents when it comes to technology these days.
If you have a child and you are going to get a computer or smartphone in your home…anything with internet access…you need to educate yourself. For your child’s protection. And remember that just because your kid is a “good” kid…an honor roll kid….a Christian kid….doesn’t mean they will never do wrong….and that they will never lie. We, as parents, need to monitor them more closely.
Just my 2 cents.
One program I just LOVE is K9 Web Protection from Blue Coat, which is a free internet filter and parental control software. I’ve been using this computer software for several years. I have it on both my laptop and the family computers. I think all parents should have this program installed (no, this is not a paid review…I just love this program and want to share it with as many parents I can). They also now offer this same software as an app for “some” smartphones. I would love to hear other parents thoughts on this.