Is It Even Possible To Save Our Kids From The Internet?Serge Bielanko
With each passing hour, the electric frontier grows wilder.
Kids once had to head down to the 7-11 parking lot to find a pretty good way to get their butts in decent trouble, but those days are gone. And to all the parents who remember growing up that way, they were “the good old days” to be sure.
The internet is here now of course. Everything is different. Everything is way scarier.
A article out today in USA Today, Monitoring kids on Facebook? That’s so 2009, presents a downright harrowing portrait of the cyber landscape today’s youth are venturing out into, a land of “sexting” and personal data sharing that absolutely pulverizes any old school shenanigans the last generation fostered.
Facebook, the article smartly notes, has fallen off of many young people’s radar lately in favor of entirely new social sharing networks that most of their parents (who have gotten Facebook savvy and stopped at that) know nothing about.
Sites like Snapchat, a free iPhone app, have apparently become hotbeds of young folks sharing naked or semi-naked pictures of themselves with God-knows-who. And while one supposedly useful feature of the app is that photos you send are supposed to “self-destruct” in ten seconds, according to USA Today. But still, as the Snapchat site itself points out, there is still ample opportunity for people to skirt that particular rule with screenshots, etc.
What does all of this mean then?
In a world where there are already quite a few ways for the young and curious to make a proverbial wrong turn and end up screwing up their lives royally, what can be done? If anything?
One mother who spoke with USA Today put it bluntly, calling her attempt to keep tabs on her kids’ online activity “a war I’m slowly losing every day.”
In one instance, the article refers to a criminal case recently stemming from “Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, N.J., where a male student allegedly took a screenshot of nude pictures sent to him by female classmates via Snapchat, then posted the pictures on Instagram.”
That scares the hell out of me. Yes, as a parent I aim to make as certain as possible that my children will understand the power and effect that their phones and laptops have on their own lives, but I don’t really know if that will be enough? It certainly hasn’t been enough for a lot of young people who have found themselves on the wrong end of some sort of internet villain time and time again recently.
Plus, for better or worse, I remember what it was like to be a teenager. I was raised pretty good and yet there was a side of me that wanted to rebel, to find my own way through the madness of youth no matter what advice anyone gave me. But just like every group of parents that looks at their kid’s generation, I believe my own voice when I say that things were different back then.
It’s a brand new wild frontier for kids and their folks, I guess. I want to make sure that I can protect my son and my daughter, 2 and 4, in the chaotic years of their life to come, but I have no training in what is coming my way.
None of us do.
And that kind of sucks.
Info source: USA Today
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