What Dangerous Behaviors are our Children Watching Online?
It sounds ridiculous. Our kids are watching people do incredibly stupid and dangerous things to themselves and others online, and copying those behaviors. So where do we stand in to protect them? You never expect your kid, whether they are troubled or they are an honor roll student, to do something so stupid that it could put them in the hospital, or even worse. But it happens. Think about this: If you are an addict or alcoholic like myself, as an ADULT, we could hardly control our own lives, or what we were influenced by. We hang around people who drink or drug, we will probably do the same. Hang out at a barber shop long enough, you’re going to eventually get a haircut. And we have to realize that KIDS are far easier to influence than we are (or should be).
Let’s look at this example:
‘TikTok Videos Encourage Viewers to Overdose on Benadryl’
‘Three teens treated at Cook Children’s after ingesting excessive amounts of the over-the-counter allergy medication’
Scary shit if you ask me. Yet, I still did things like this, in fact, the above mentioned many times in my earlier years. We didn’t have TikTok or anything back then, but I had an addictive mindset, and friends with the same. I wanted to do anything and everything that would get me high or drunk, no matter how scary the night may have ended up being as a result. I would pop any pills I could get my hands on, I would also get my friends to try what I was doing, depending on the effect I would have doing it on my own first. So fast forward 18 years. Now, the biggest influence of all, on the entire planet, social media is EVERYWHERE. Some have age restrictions, but who’s stopping teens from making accounts with false ages so they can access the same channels as us? In fact, aren’t most of us totally aware of this and okay with it? Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, you name it. Our kids are becoming acclimated with these things at a young age. And this can be okay, but can also be very dangerous. From predators, to cyber bullying resulting in suicides, to influencing others to overdose on over-the-counter meds to get high or ‘trip’. What can we do about this to protect our kiddos? Here are a few tips that will hopefully help you keep an eye on what your child is doing online, to hopefully have some peace of mind that they are safe.
1 – Whether They Like It or Not!
Remember that YOU are the adult. YOU are in charge of what your kid is doing, at least while you can see them. You are in charge of what your child has access to as far as technology, right? Well kids are sneaky. Kids think they can do whatever they want and don’t have to listen to us. Well it’s time to stop being our kids’ friend and be the parent in charge. Whether they like it or not, we don’t have to give them all the privacy in the world, especially if we see changing behaviors in them that concern us. And we can take away the things they are so addicted to if they aren’t following our rules, especially since we highly likely are the ones who paid for the devices. We take away games, tablets, phones, everything. Ground them. It didn’t work for me as a kid (I needed a tougher method), but seems to be working for my son. For one, he knows I’m watching. Second, I’ve told him over and over the bad things that can happen if he gives out any info. So, there’s that. The one thing I had to do about this to keep it from happening, was to have a talk with him about how the world, even the non-existent parts of it work. Keep reading on about this.
2 – Talk to your Children.
You see, Joe Cool, they’ve done studies, and they found that in any system that relies on cooperation, from a school of fish or say even a professional hockey team for example, these experts have identified communication as the number one single key to success. In other words, if we don’t talk to our kids about how dangerous things can be, they may never realize it on their own, before it’s too late. So, I tell my boy: No matter who someone says they are online, even if you know someone from school that’s on your game, do NOT give out your password, EVER, to ANYONE. Do NOT give your location or any other information to anyone online. I mean, was it difficult for me to get a refund and start him a new account? No. But our little ones will fall for this, and far worse, just know that. Communication is the number one thing we MUST keep open with our kids, so they know what they’re getting into, especially in those times that we can’t look over their shoulder 24/7. Speaking of, there are also a few things we can do to keep an eye on our kids, even if they aren’t home with us at the time. Not only checking in with other parents and so on, but also keeping track of what traces they leave online. Let’s talk about that below.
3 – Keep account information, check history often.
So, we have discussed using our parental authority, as well as communicating properly with our children, making them aware of the dangers that lurk in the online universe. But let’s face the fact that they aren’t always going to listen to us. They will likely wander off and get lost in chats or other apps and forums of the like, and become addicted to the attention they may get in certain places online. Predators and Hackers are everywhere, and sometimes even when our children are actually following the rules and being careful, they can still be persuaded, depending on the situation, to give out certain information, which sadly, can and has ended tragically at times. One thing I do personally, as well as my son’s mother, is make sure we have admin access to all his accounts, and keep tabs on him. Roblox, YouTube, and so-on. This way, I can simply login to his Google account from anywhere, to see exactly what he has been doing, what he has been watching or playing. I can even see the in-game chats, where in some instances, I could see someone else tricking him into giving up his password and stealing his account, where I had put money in for him to buy all the useless character skins and other ‘mods’ for his games.
Overall, the whole point to this post is to hopefully help open some eyes a bit. You may be surprised what you find, or maybe not. But it’s always better to know than to not. Do your research on the dangers of influences that our kids may fall into. Talk to them about all of it. Education is protection. Stay safe friends, and keep your little ones safe.