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Kids & the Internet

children on the internet

Since I am a website designer, I have friends ask me about the internet, social media, apps, and all sorts of digital topic questions quite frequently. I have noticed that most parents do not take the time to learn how to use specific apps and social media platforms that their child is using. I have also noticed that it is expected that a child will have a phone or some sort of device such as a tablet at a much younger age that was expected even a few short years ago. I see kids on their parents' phone at ages three or four. Alot of kids have their own phone by grade six.

I work on the internet all day long and let me give you a piece of advice. Would you get a box and gather an encyclopedia, two art books, a couple cds you found at Goodwill that you did not even read the title of before grabbing them, six movies someone off the street handed you, eight comic books, a couple porn magazines, a Bible, and three books and put them in that box. Then would you hand that box to your kid and say, "I hope that I raised you well the first ten years and you know not to mess with the bad stuff, right? All your friends have a box so at least I waited until you were ten instead of six years old like Joey's mom." And then let your child walk off with that box that you just gave them to put it their room. Would you do that? Well, that is what you do when you give a kid a tablet, an Xbox, a Roku, a phone, or whatever device that has wifi or bluetooth or fiber optics or any number of ways to access the internet.

There has been alot of talk about sex trafficking and I hope that by now you have spoken to your kids to not talk, chat, text, email, or contact in any way anyone who contacts them that they do not know. Most likely they are not who they say they are to begin with. Most likely seventy percent of what you have seen today on your own phone or scrolling through your social media is not real. Your brain thinks it is though. Aside from the fact that it is hard for kids to tell fact from fiction, once they see something, they can't unsee it. Most boys who are into porn, which is way more than you think and not because they went looking for it, started at age eleven. Well, you handed them the box.

You can find a gazillion resources and parental controls so that is not what I am offering you in this article. I am encouraging you from a web professional's perspective to not be lazy, be involved, and say no as a parent from the get go. Don't wait until there is a problem. No kid should have full access to the internet. And a fourteen year old doesn't need to be on Instagram. They won't die without a phone. I have heard of more kids thanking their parents for taking the phone because addiction is real and they can't stop scrolling or texting even when they want to. Be in control of what goes in that box and when your kid gets that box. They cannot get their innocence back.


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