In the world of iPads, Smart and iPhones children are handed devices and more than you know comes with it!
It starts with fun apps, movies, then moves on to much more than most parents are aware of.
I just read, “American Girls“, by Nancy Jo Sales, which is a MUST read for all parents with children in middle/high school or college.
It cracks the silent code as to what is going on in the United States & the world with tweens/teens on social media which is truly mind blowing!
From bullying, body shaming, explicit photos & videos, internet surfing, the rise of STD’s, rape, online predators, sexting, dangers with some apps, pornographic videos all of which children can gain access to in a snap!
Below are just a few of the most popular apps that tweens/teens are using.
The A B C’s of the App World:
Ask.fm is one of the most popular sites used by children. It allows users to anonymously ask questions consequence-free forum.
Blendr is an app that uses GPS to meet people. This app is used to flirt, send messages and videos. Users rate the others uses on a scale of their hotness.
The Down app is used in a way connecting Facebook friends and indicate if they want to hook up or hang out with someone.
Kik Messenger has over 100 million users on this app. Exchanges of pictures, drawings, YouTube videos can be sent to users. Sexting is done also on this app through having a, “Kik buddy”. There are no parental controls on this app, and classified ads are done through giving out Kik usernames.
Apps like Snapchat (Allows a user to send videos and photos on his/her list of friends. The sender determines how long the image can be seen, then it destructs. This app is most used for sexting by teens because they think it is a safe bet no one will know.
What children/parents don’t realize is that the image can be screen shot then passed on by friends, as well as on porn sites for revenge like, Snap Porn!
Tinder is an app used for dating or, “hooking up”. Through GPS users can search and see unlimited profiles from minors to adults.
This app pulls information from Facebook profiles.
Yik Yak is an app that allows users to post texts up to a certain number of characters. Messages can be viewed by fellow Yakkers through GPS which is startling!
Although posts are anonymous, children can start to reveal personal information to complete strangers!
Whisper is an app that is used anonymously to confess thoughts or feelings.
Again through GPS users can communicate with people in their area.
What information I thought I knew to look out for in the years to come I was clueless to what is out there for kids/teens!
Social media does not come with a parenting guide, so my advise is as follows…
*Be aware of what apps your children have.
*Have continuing conversations about what they are doing on social media. Discuss what is appopraite and not okay to post.
*Teach them online safety, versus lecturing.
*Have rules for example:
*Never post anything you do not want the world to see (bullying, inapporate photos/language).
Never give your full name, address, cell/home phone numbers
Never arrange face-to-face meetings
Never upload/post personal pictures of yourself
*Maintain access to your children’s online accounts, and randomly ask to see his/her devices.
*Set up a parenting contract and establish rules/consequences together.
*No devices in bedrooms! Have a common area your children can ise their devices.
*Have a check out/check in for all devices.
There are countless parents I mentor and am friendly with who complain of their childrens sleeping habits, as well as that they cant get their kids off their devices.
If you set a time in the am/pm it will solve most issues!
They are children and NOT the parent! It is easy to hand a device and the room is silent. However as parents it is our job to set boundaries, and follow through with them.
The world is changing so fast, and we need to educate ourselves, as well as our children of the online world.
One of my favorite teachable moments I did in a workshop in one middle school was to give every student a piece of paper, Sharpie marker and an eraser.
I asked each student to write his/her most personal secret that they would NEVER share with everyone.
I then collected the Sharpie’s and asked them to erase what they just wrote.
The room was silent, and I think they understood that what your post can not be erased forever!
Friends can screenshot and share posts/photos and NOTHING is guaranteed that no one else can see! Emails that are trashed aren’t really trashed!
This post is one I wish that you will share on all social media to educate other parents of what is going on in today’s world.
Take it from a Mom who wants to thank Nancy Jo Sales for shedding light onto what is happening in the social media world!
We as human beings are given the gift of intuition. If something doesn’t seem right with your child, then seek a few opinions.
Aside from my styling and journalism jobs, I am also a Parenting Expert/Mentor. I see many parents who sometimes ask me, “Do you think our child has any issues, or are their any red flags that we should look out for?”
My advice varies, first and foremost speaking with your pediatrician is the first step. Afterwards depending on the situation, I have referred parents to see ophthalmologists, ENT’s, Occupational/Physical therapists, as well as Behavioral therapists to obtain more information.
I can relate on a personal level, for our daughter was born what her pediatrian diagnosed her with was Torticollis (head tilt).
My husband and I didn’t agree with the diagnosis, for over time for she had other issues with mobility and feeding difficulties.
It wasn’t until we saw an Occupational and Physical therapist who diagnosed her with Strabismus (lazy eye syndrome). That explained it all!
She underwent eye surgery and all of her issues resolved along with Physical and Occupational therapies.
The message and advise I have for parents is to be your own advocate! If something does not seem right, then go for an evaluation.
Early intervention works wonders, and if you are not satisfied with the answers you get then seek another opinion or more!
Take it from a Mom who has been there, and continues to be an advocate!
Then lace up your sneakers and find something you love or have always wanted to do!
Being a parent, working and juggling schedules & activities can stressful, overwhelming and exhausting . It is important to take time for ourselves and finding something you enjoy makes things more meaningful.
Most facilities offer free trials for classes, so why not try a varity of different things before you lock into one activity!
I am going to make it my goal to step in a new direction this New Year for a healthier me!
Wishing you all a fabulous 2016 full of amazing things!