5 Most Dangerous Places for Kids to be Online

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5 Most Dangerous Places for Kids to be Online

Where Kids Use Tech Dictates How They Use Tech

Parents can’t control all of the doorways that exist for a child to access the web. Creating a teach-ready home is one thing, but how many other ways exist for your child to watch YouTube without you knowing? While parents can’t control all of the places where their kids spend time, there are a few high-risk environments that warrant more attention.

5 Dangerous Places For Digital Kids

This list is based on stories I’ve heard from real parents just like you.

1. Grandparent’s House

Most of my sacred childhood memories are from spending time with both sets of grandparents. Each lived in towns that were much different from mine. One close to the shores of Lake Michigan and the other on 40 acres of farm, complete with a red barn, sheep, and a pony named Pat. I loved weekends, summers, and entire spring breaks spent with both my grandparents.

Unfortunately, today I often hear from kids that when they are with grandma and grandpa, they can do whatever they want on their electronic devices. No rules and no routines. This, combined with a lack of digital know-how often creates a perfect situation for kids to get away with more.

The Solution? Help grandma and grandpa with a strong router, and parental controls on their devices, and have conversations laying out internet safety expectations. Have a direct talk with your kids – I mean, what kind of kid takes advantage of their grandparents? Make sure they know that if you mess with Grandma or Grandpa, life will get ugly 🙂

Related post: How to Block Porn on Any Device. For Free!

2. The School Bus

Protect Young Eyes began in 2015, and the first parent that came to us with their horror story of how their sweet, 6th-grade son was introduced to pornography, involving the school bus.

Their son was on the morning bus ride to school when another kid started showing porn to everyone on an old iPhone. One of the many sad aspects of this story is that the iPhone was passed down to the kid from their father, which meant this was actually dad’s porn that didn’t get wiped from the photos.

When I step back to think about the entire bus experience, many things concern me.

  1. The student-to-adult ratio is usually about 50-1, and the adult has little ability to observe anything happening on the bus due to their focus on driving.
  2. There’s typically a range of kids from kindergarten to 6th graders through whatever high school kid can’t find a ride, which means the risk of unsavory language and influence is high.
  3. The lack of seat belts always has bothered me, but that has little to do with digital safety!

My point is this – the bus ride is high risk.

The Solution? Have consistent and persistent conversations with your child, asking them what they experience on the bus. Internet safety is essentially void on the school bus. Does your child know what to do when they see pornography? If they’re old enough to ride the bus, then they’re old enough for you to have age-appropriate conversations about porn and digital dangers.

We want you to make porn a normal word in your household – check out this Instagram post for suggestions.

3. Bedrooms and 4. Bathrooms

During my 10 years of junior high ministry, I spoke with quite a few kids who struggled with various digital issues. Whether it was cyberbullying, sexting, pornography, or just staying up all night staring at a screen, all of these issues occurred most frequently in their bedrooms. It’s a kid’s domain. Their safe haven. Their kingdom. It’s the one place where your kid might be able to get away and just be alone with their thoughts…and that’s the problem.

All alone.

The temptations often lurk heavier at night. There’s just something about the nighttime that brings out personal demons for most of us, young or old.

A phrase we’ve coined as the “Toxic Trio” – the combination of bedrooms, boredom, and darkness. Whether you’re 14 or 40, these three factors lead to many digital temptations and poor choices.

The Solution? Have rules for when and where technology is used. Oh, and if your son or daughter can’t have technology in their bedroom or can’t use their phone as an alarm clock, then you can’t either. We want you to lead by example in following the same digital rules you set for the household. They pay attention to how you use tech, and following your own rules goes a long way, trust us!

5. Sleepovers

I’ve written extensively about sleepover risk. More and more parents just don’t allow them anymore. Four teenage girls, internet access, midnight live streaming through favorite social media? What could possibly go wrong?

The Solution? Your house, your rules. If you have kids over, make sure your wireless router is controlled, you’ve clearly stated your house rules, and parents of those kids know what’s expected, like “If you need something, text me because I’ll have possession of all phones at bedtime.”

Bottom Line:

If your kids spend time in any of these environments, then their minds and hearts are the only effective filter across all these situations. Whether you read the Bible or not, something from the historical book of Proverbs makes a lot of sense. “Train a child in the way he should go.” It was true then and it’s still true today!

What if I have more questions? How can I stay up to date?

Two actions you can take!

  1. Subscribe to our tech trends newsletter, the PYE Download. About every 3 weeks, we’ll share what’s new, what the PYE team is up to, and a message from Chris.
  2. Ask your questions in our private parent community called The Table! It’s not another Facebook group. No ads, no algorithms, no asterisks. Just honest, critical conversations and deep learning! For parents who want to “go slow” together. Become a member today!

The Table - Private Community from PYE

There are affiliate links throughout this post because we’ve tested and trust a small list of parental control solutions. Our work saves you time! If you decide that you agree with us, then we may earn a small commission, which does nothing to your price. Enjoy!

11 thoughts on “5 Most Dangerous Places for Kids to be Online”

    school has wifi
    during breaks everyone is watching bird box on Netflix,
    I’m only in grade (I ain’t tellin),
    and EVERYONE has social media,
    and EVERYONE goes on social media during breaks and even during class,
    School also has it’s own devices that they let kids who forget to bring their devices to school, (IPads, Chromebooks, Macs, ect.)
    And School has computers, and people can use social media from computer too

  2. Decent human being

    Everything I’ve read on this website is the epitome of a parent who is 100% way too overprotective. Kids are people too, you know. A parent is there to guide, not dictate every action that a kid makes. Actions like this are going to lead to no trust from them NOW, and when they get older. Maybe put even an ounce of trust in your kid and there actions would stop going so against your “perfect views.”

  3. This article makes perfect sense. I’m not sure why the above posters need to make extreme comments like the advice is “100% way too overprotective.” The fact of the matter is, kids are far more easily and readily exposed to inappropriate/potentially dangerous content/people than previous generations. The world is different than it was 10, 20 or 50 years ago. I fail to see how sticking your head in the sand and saying “just trust your kid” will help. Parents please stay involved and talk to your kids! They are young and impressionable and need your guidance!

  4. call me teen privacy activist

    honestly this just BLOWS my mind. i’m glad that my parents trusted me enough to actually let me have my own privacy and my own life. I cannot imagine the embarrasment a kid will have when their parents take their and all of their friends’ phones at night. like first of all i think its very disrespectful as a person and also, which parent will allow their kid to go to a sleepover when the parent at said sleepover takes the only communication device they have to you or the outside world? that seems more sketchy to me tbh.

    1. Hello, I don’t think we can fully compare our childhoods and “parental trust” with our kids who are growing up in the Internet era with personal electronic devices constantly available (smartphones, tablets, computers, etc). Parents today have to be more vigilant and protect against dangers that are more present and available with these personal electronic devices that are a gateway to lots of damaging material for our children’s young minds. I appreciate this list of 5 places. It’s a starting point for parents to consider when/where to put appropriate boundaries and rules so that children can grow in a healthy way. It’s naive and misguided to think that allowing your kids complete freedom and access will produce responsible and healthy behavior. Being the parent now is not easy but it’s our job to help our kids navigate a world that is changed by electronics.

  5. Why are you on this website if you find it so offensive? This is a site for parents who need help protecting their kids from the dangers lurking in certain corners of the internet until they are mature enough to fend for themselves. Its the same reason you hold your young childs’ hand when they cross the street and teach them to look both ways so they dont get run over – because they’re not wise enough yet to understand that crossing the street comes with risk. My own parents took a hands off approach, and I stumbled into porn, leading to a lifetime struggle with porn addiction; I hope to equip my kids to avoid the same fate. Thank you Chris for the work you do on this website!

  6. These “nay sayers” must have perfect children. My crew were all first generation internet users and I know exactly how many pitfalls there are out there and what happens if parents don’t take the reigns and reel in their kids. THAT’S OUR JOB !! Yes, we are to guide but we also instruct, rebuke and discipline!! We are not their buddies. We are their teachers and examples. I love my kids with all my heart but totally accept they are not perfect and over the years, have needed parental intervention. NEEDED. Maybe not wanted but definitely needed. Again, THAT’S OUR JOB!

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