No need to feel overwhelmed by keeping up with the latest info on raising digital kids! We’ve got you covered. Check in regularly for current news you can use to prepare your kids to live safely in a sexualized world.
Here’s What’s Trending in October 2018
Tech: New iOs Screen Time – Make It a Fun Family Challenge
The good news
Apple iOS 12 has new Screen Time parental controls!
Now parents can set more limits on a child’s iPhone, iPad or iPod. Parents get weekly reports, and can manage how much time a child uses apps. Parents can also schedule Downtime from a distance, basically locking down iOS devices at meals or bedtime. Learn how here.
Screen Time also helps grown-ups manage their tech time! It will show how much you use your phone and has tools to set your own limits.
The reality-check news
Apple iOS 12 has been out for less than a month, and kids are already getting past Screen Time controls.
“Getting around restrictions is just a matter of time, and kids always have more time available to them than their parents. Always.
Which isn’t to say that parents can’t, or shouldn’t, try to oversee their children’s digital development. It’s just that setting up restrictions and forgetting about it probably isn’t the right approach—active parenting is going to be required, and no tech can change that.” Justin Pot
Don’t despair! This is an opportunity for your whole family to take the challenge to manage screen time better and build connection in the process.
What you can do:
- Be enthusiastic! Your attitude will influence your kids.
- Use it as a tool for family discussions and accountability, rather than exerting power.
- Set up Screen Time together as a family, on the kids and the parents devices. Explain why parents have more control over the kids’ devices (it’s parents’ job to train kids and watch over them until they can be independent.)
- Show how it can help you all enjoy tech while keeping it in healthy limits.
- Gamify it! Use Screen Time to set challenge goals for how much time each person wants to spend on their phone, on certain apps or on categories such as social media.
- Hold regular tech challenge check-ins. Share the data about how your family is using their devices, celebrate success, and set new goals to keep improving. Listen to what the kids are learning!
- As a family, decide on reasonable consequences for those who cheat the system.
It’s great to see Apple providing tools to help families. Don’t let the fact that kids can get past it deter you. As you know well from our constant message, the real power is in teaching kids to make good choices with tech.
You can start with kids as young as 3 and 4-years old and practice how to stay safe. Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds makes it easy!
Apps: New Instagram Video Chat Gives Predators Access to Kids
Instragram launched a new video chat feature this summer. Everyone who has updated to the latest version of the app now has the ability to video chat through DM (direct messaging). Videos, like messages, can be set to disappear Snapchat-style.
So the same concerns about Snapchat apply to Instagram.
We heard a disturbing story this week from a friend. A stranger sent a video to a middle school boy through his Instagram account. The contact was an older man, and he was not fully clothed.
“Most parents don’t know that ANYONE can request to DM their child, even with a private account. It shows up as a request. Once accepted, strangers can DM.” Mandy Majors, nextTalk
Instagram’s help info warns, “Keep in mind that anyone you’ve accepted a direct message from can video chat with you. To prevent someone from video chatting with you, you can block them or mute the conversation.”
What you can do:
- Kids should be at least 13 before using Instagram.
- As with all social media, regular talks and check-ins are key.
- If your older kids are using Instagram, talk about the new video chat feature and how to stay safe. Most importantly, do not accept DM requests from anyone you don’t know. If a stranger sends a chat request, block them.
News: 24 Men Arrested for Luring Kids Through Games Like Fortnite, Minecraft & Roblox
“In news that will make most parents sick to their stomachs, 24 men were arrested in a sting operation in New Jersey for allegedly using these games and others to lure kids into being potential victims of sex crimes.” Ashley Austrew, CafeMom Blog
Some of the predators posed as teenagers to befriend minors. However, they were actually talking with the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The men were arrested when they arrived at a home where they expected to meet their victims.
We all know online predators are out there somewhere – but sometimes we need a reminder that the internet brings everyone out there within reach of our own kids.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office identified the apps that were used by some of the 24 men arrested.
What you can do:
1. Set up parental controls in games. Learn more about Fortnite and how to turn off voice chat.
2. Regularly talk to kids about what to do in questionable interactions online.
- Never give out personal info.
- Be aware of sketchy questions like “When are your parents coming home?”
- Remember other players may not be who they say they are.
3. Follow game chat safety rules:
- Only play online games with people you know in real life.
- Turn off communication features in games when possible.
- If playing games with voice chat, play in a room where parents can hear what is going on (no headphones!)
- If teens do play with people they don’t know in person, don’t interact outside of the game, such as instant messaging, texting or another platform.
Research: Study Reveals a Connection Between Adolescent Pornography Use and Mental Health
Pornography affects kids in so many ways – have you ever wondered how depression might fit into the problem?
A recent article reviewed 57 different studies on pornography use by adolescents. One sobering trend they found was that teens and tweens that have high levels of pornography use also show more depression and other emotional and behavioral problems. An interesting note is that young people who view pornography infrequently do not show these higher levels of emotional problems.
Our takeaway on kids, depression and pornography
Emotional problems like depression can be both a cause and a result of using pornography. Kids can get in a cycle of feeling low, turning to pornography (or other harmful behavior) for escape, and then feeling even worse after viewing it.
It’s important to pay attention and not expect emotional problems to just go away by themselves. Parents can support kids who are going through emotional pain. Kids who are intentionally viewing porn and showing signs of distress need care that addresses all concerns.
At the same time, we know many parents fear that if their child ever sees pornography, they are destined to have major life challenges. While we never want to minimize the harm of pornography, it’s encouraging to find that infrequent pornography use is not always linked with emotional problems.
It confirms our belief that while we can’t prevent kids from ever seeing pornography, with your help it is still possible for children to grow up free from the problems of pornography. Every time you talk to your kids, they are safer!
Reference: Adolescent Pornography Use: A Systematic Literature Review of Research Trends 2000-2017 published in 2018 by Kyriaki Alexandraki, Vasileios Stavropoulos, Emma Anderson, Mohammad Qasim Latifi, and Rapson Gomez.
Ending on a positive note, this high school student created an anonymous Twitter account to send only compliments to other students. Hayden sent Tweets such as telling students he was inspired by how creative they were, how he wanted to be them because of how determined they were, or even just that he appreciated them. He reminds us that it costs exactly $0 to be kind!
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