Technology use has become second nature among kids today. However, there’s a growing concern among parents over their kid’s use of technology. Are kids using it properly? Is technology affecting their health? Are they safe and secure while online? These are just some of the many questions that run through a parent’s mind, and rightfully so, since there are so many dangers and issues technology poses to children.
7 Reasons To Monitor Your Child’s Technology Use
Kids today are participating in ridiculous, stupid, and dangerous online viral challenges. The most recent challenge, The Tide Pod Challenge, asked participants to consume a pod of Tide detergent. Any normal parent would freak out if they heard their child was consuming detergent! When this challenge was trending, poison control centers received at least 134 reports of intentional consumption of laundry packets.
In response, Tide released a video featuring Rob Gronkowski explaining that consuming Tide Pods is a bad idea.
Why do kids participate in these viral challenges? Well, why do kids do anything? It’s all about peer pressure and acceptance. Some of the reasons include celebrity endorsement and FOMO (fear of missing out). But it’s a parents job to keep an eye on their child and make sure they aren’t participating in dangerous online challenges.
Protect Your Child From Online Predators
Don’t be fooled, not everyone on social media and various apps are who they claim to be. Many online sexual predators pretend to be someone that’s physically appealing or young. They target children who appear vulnerable, have a history of being abused, or talk about sex online. Communication usually starts through private messaging. After some time, predators may send explicit photos of themselves or ask the victim to send some. Eventually, predators try to convince their target to meet in-person.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice:
- 13% of children have received unwanted sexual solicitation on the internet.
- 1 in 25 kids have received sexual solicitation online where the predator wanted to meet offline.
- In more than one-quarter of incidents, predators have asked for children for sexual photos of themselves.
Predators are out there, and they could be targeting your child.
Prevent Them From Being Cyberbullied
Cyberbullying is always a problem among children. Many are being bullied on social media, online forums, and through texts by people they may or may not know. According to DoSomething.org, 43% of kids online have been cyberbullied and 70% report seeing cyberbullying online. Also, victims of cyberbullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider committing suicide.
How would you feel if your child was cyberbullied or even the cyber bully?
Some signs that indicate your child is being cyberbullied include:
- Keeping to themselves.
- Not wanting to hangout with friends and family.
- Not using their tech devices as often.
- Their mood drastically changes.
Parents should be aware that cyberbullying comes in many forms. Watch the video below to learn about some cyberbullying types.
Make Sure Your Child Isn’t Going Down A Criminal Path
Monitoring your child’s technology use is essential to confirm they aren’t going down a criminal path. This includes drug use and dealing, stealing, fighting, making threats, and school shootings.
Recently, there was a major school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The shooter was 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the school. He killed a total of 17 people and injured many more. The Parkland School shooting could have been prevented if his adoptive parents monitored his internet use and had seen his threatening video comments and gun-related Instagram posts.
Checking on what your child is up to online not only will protect them, but others as well.
Social Media Use Could Lead To Depression
Multiple studies prove that social media can lead to numerous psychological issues, including anxiety and depression. In 2017, the Status of Mind study was conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health. The study focused on the brain development of children who used social media.
In short, the study ranked social media platforms from the most damaging to the healthiest:
For this study, 1,500 people from the United Kingdom, ages 14-24, were surveyed.
Watch this video describing the Status of Mind study:
Too Much Screen Time Could Cause Health Issues
It’s well known that too much screen time can lead to health issues in children. According to State Farm, one-third of kids ages 12-15 watch TV and use the computer at least 2 hours a day, and 6.9% spend more than 5 hours a day looking at screens.
Health problems that can result from too much screen time include:
- Blurry Vision
- Eye Tiredness and Dryness
- Eye Strain
- Unhealthy Eating Habits
- Lack of Sleep
- Fingers, Wrist, Neck, and Back Pain
To prevent these health issues, monitor your child’s technology use and set firm ground rules like not using devices after 7:00 pm.
Prevent Their Exposure To Inappropriate Content
Children are exposed to inappropriate content online every day whether on social media, Google, YouTube, or spam sites. It was recently discovered that YouTube videos involving cartoons and popular animated characters that seemed kid-friendly (but weren’t), were being recommended to children. Some of the inappropriate videos involved Dora The Explorer, Minecraft, and Mickey Mouse.
Read more about this subject here and watch the video below to learn more.
To prevent your child from being exposed to this type of content, monitoring their tech use is necessary along with utilizing parental control settings. YouTube for Kids is also available if you want complete control over the content they watch.
Monitoring your child’s technology use is a necessary fact of life. Not only will monitoring protect your child from online dangers and health issues, but it will help you, as the parent, stay in control.
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