I had a wonderful time on Good Day Sacramento this morning. I talked about a topic that is very important to me – Internet Safety. Watch the clip below or keep reading for: 3 Things Parents Must Do to Protect Their Children Online.
1. Abandon the “Not My Kid Syndrome”
I bet there was a time in your life when you said that you would not be THAT parent. You know the one . . . the parent with Not My Kid Syndrome. Please don’t be this parent, because let’s face it . . . if it’s not your kid it’s a neighbor’s kid. But since the average age of exposure to pornography is 11, let’s face it . . . it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.
So be proactive and remember how curious you were at that age. Be proactive in talking to your kids about sex.
To put their world into perspective I encourage parents to take what I call the “Dictionary Test.” Remember when you were a kid, you looked up taboo words in the dictionary right? – that’s what I did. I still remember the stencil drawing of the vagina and I had to be under 9 years old – and I still remember.
But our kids don’t use the dictionary. Instead they “Google it.” So here’s my challenge to you – GOOGLE IT. Perform a google search of adult words that are entering your child’s vocabulary – google words like “porn” and “sex” and maybe others that you child is now learning. Examine the search results. Click on the “images” and “video” tab. Do the same search on youtube and check out the results.
Now after you are done picking your mouth off the floor – ask yourself a very serious question: is this is how I want my child to learn about human sexuality? I’m pretty confident the answer is no.
Rid yourself of Not My Kid Syndrome and take action. That leads me to #2.
2. Be a Parent and Monitor Their Online Activities
You must know what your children are doing online. You must know what your children are doing online. You must know what your children are doing online. You must know what your children are doing online. You must know what your children are doing online.
Am I getting my point across?
The risks of not knowing are significant – your kid can easily have inappropriate communications with predatory adults (including sex traffickers); they will learn a horrific sexual education, the could be subject to bullying, sexting (and expose themselves to possession of child porn charges) and so on . . . Heck, the spokesperson from Subway was soliciting sex from minors online.
Be smart. The risks are real brothers and sisters. You’re kids need you. Step up and be a parent.
3. Have MANY Talks with Your Children about Sexuality and Pornography – early and often.
There is no such thing as THE talk anymore. It’s many many talks. Plural! It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when your child sees porn. If you aren’t leaders in this area your children will satisfy their curiosity elsewhere with potentially lifelong consequences.
I am affiliated with a wonderful resource called Enough Is Enough that has great rules and tools for parents who want to step up their game protecting their children online. Here’s a link to their site.
Please share this post and help me spread the word. What do you do to protect your children online? Share in the comments below.