A few days ago, my daughter told me about a friend of hers meeting a guy on Snapchat and how she had plans to meet up with him. Her fear was the worst would happen because her friend didn't know this grown man and it wasn't her first time doing this. Her friend wouldn't listen to the group, so they all decided to tell their parents. I personally didn't have her parents' number, but another parent got in touch and she was immediately grounded, and her phone was taken away from her.
But this made me think, how many kids still do this, and how many of their friends don't tell? How many girls (and guys) are still being tricked into being kidnapped? I hear so many people say they don't discuss these things with their kids because they want to keep them sheltered in order to be a kid, but doesn't that make things worse? It's our responsibility as a parent to protect our kids and that includes making them aware of the dangers in the world.
As a parent, what do you do?
I posted a warning to my FB account and many said they don't allow their kids to have social media, as if that is a great alternative. What I know too much about kids, because I remember being one, is it's better to set boundaries instead of banning, because then you are left out the loop as they sneak and do it anyway. In this day and age, if your child doesn't personally have it, their friends do, and they are still exposed. It loses an element of communication because when they have questions, they will not come to you.
Girls are going missing at an alarming rate...
I personally always have been honest with my girls I tell them the raw truth. I don't sugarcoat the realities of what's going on in the world. On the news, you see where girls are going missing at an alarming rate. The internet has a huge part in it. Young girls are naïve and believe when they see a picture and a face that they are talking to that person. They have also started recruiting the kids they kidnapped to help them grab more.
What can you do? What can you talk to your kids about? What's the line between keeping them innocent and making them paranoid? Can we afford innocent like? They are taking kids younger than 5 while they are playing at playgrounds and in their own front yard. They are being trafficked, murdered or sold off to who knows. When my kids were little, I always told them about stranger danger, but it's so much more than that.
Teenagers all want a boyfriend or are always looking for new ways to meet friends. While everyone online is not a predator, sometimes they can be. 72% of all missing children cases begin with an online encounter and 32% of teens hide or delete their online history. Kids/Teens need to know that every pretty face is not a real person. That every person who says they are 16 or 15 is not always telling the truth or they could be helping solicit them. Children are more likely to be solicited online by peers their own age.
"The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them."
- Frank A. Clark
Having to protect our kids should include being honest with our kids. Explaining to them proper internet uses, how to understand that somethings are only entertainment and how others can be dangerous. We also should teach them how to unplug. Doing this can possibly protect them from predators, but also from bullying, or becoming a bully. What do you do to protect your children from the dangers of the internet?