The world that exists behind our mobile gadgets may be useful, informative, and even entertaining. For adults; it’s easy to tap into the World Wide Web safely if you know what you’re doing. However our children are a different story. Allowing access to these mobile technologies raises risks of unwanted sexual content, unfavorable web pages, and risks of predators that produce a whole slew of dangerous outcomes.
The risks behind an unfiltered iPhone or iPad can result in not so favorable outcomes. Below are some possible risks and how you can build a barrier to safer technology for your child.
Educate Your Child
Speaking with your child is a great way to open up the communication about some pretty sensitive issues. Though it may be a bit uncomfortable at first, educating your child on how to avoid sexually explicit websites is important. I do suggest placing a content filter on any mobile device you hand over to your child, but there still might be instances where your child will face sexual content. Chat rooms and Facebook are always possible risks of exposure.
Your child might be well adjusted, smart, and even savvy, but the risks associated with the internet can typically outweigh your child’s capabilities to deal with such exposure. Having an in depth conversation about how to safely navigate, retreat and inform you when sexual content is discovered is important. Filters can ease most of these possible risks but when they fail, you’ll want your child to come to you.
Sexting – How to Ensure Your Child Doesn’t Become a Victim
This new trend between tweens and teens is alarming. Sexting is the act speaking in a sexual tone as well as taking a nude or semi-nude photo and sending it to someone via text. As our children grow into young adults, you’re sure to be faced with the hormones that come with growing up. Unfortunately, sexting is so popular that your teen might be easily swayed to send these types of photos to a boy she’s interested in. Speak with your teen about how this can backfire. Recent tragedies due to sexting have been suicide, drug/alcohol abuse and depression.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy reports that 20% of all teens have sent some sort of nude photo to a boy or girl they were interested in. A whopping 39% have either sent or received sexually explicit messages. More statistics for sexting can be found here. As you can see from these statistics it does happen and we have to keep an eye out for this type of behavior. If you feel your teen might be at risk of either sending or receiving these types of messages, I suggest installing the Call Guard app. This app blocks any person that you have not set up on the list of approved contacts and is password protected.
It’s common that your mobile device will ask you if you would like to display your location; however, this is not a good idea. If a predator catches wind of where your child is located the outcome might be very serious. I suggest using something like family locator software. Verizon has one, and if offers parents a way to see where their child is at any given moment. This is extremely helpful if your child is missing; as long as they have their cell phone they can be found.
Make sure to speak with your child or teen about chat rooms, educating them on possible dangers of meeting someone online. Sexual predators come in many shapes, sizes and ages and are great at manipulation. Teach them how to spot these predators and, more importantly, teach them to tell an adult right away.
Building a barrier is simple if you’re aware of the possible dangers, though we can’t protect our children from everything; it is possible to mitigate most damage. When your child is ready to tap into the world of mobile technology have those important talks and utilize apps for added security. With these small changes your child can partake in all the wonderful benefits of technology without the risks!
Picture credit: quinnanya
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Sarah Shade works as a writer and researcher for an Georgia iPad repair company called Bob Knows Phones, she researches mobile technology risks, apps and finds resources that aid families in the proper use and safety of mobile devices.