Where Kids Use Tech Dictates How They Use Tech
It’s impossible for parents to 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 create a perfect situation for kids to get away with more.
The Solution? Help grandma and grandpa with a strong router, 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, involved 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, there are many things that concerned me.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
The temptations often lurk heavier at night. There’s just something about the night time 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 of 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, following your own rules goes a long way, trust us!
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 bed time.”
If your kids spend time in any of these environments, then their mind and heart 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!
Now What? Have you Heard of Bark?
Are you interested in having greater insight into the social media platforms that your kids are using, no matter WHERE they’re using it? Bark is one of the best monitoring platforms we’ve tested. They’re constantly looking for ways to dig further into apps like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and others, to keep parents informed about the right things at the right time. We trust them and we think you should, too!
*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!
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Chris McKenna, Founder: A man with never ending energy when it comes to fighting for the safety and protection of children. Chris practices his internet safety tips on his four amazing children and is regularly featured on news, radio, and podcasts for his research. His 2019 US Senate Judiciary Committee testimony was the catalyst for draft legislation and on-going discussion that could radically change online child protection laws and earned PYE the NCOSE Dignity Defense Alert Award in 2020. The PYE team has performed over 1,300 presentations at schools, churches, and nonprofits and was featured in the Childhood 2.0 movie. When not leading PYE, Chris is the Digital Marketing Manager for Covenant Eyes. Other loves include running, spreadsheets, nature, and candy.