Today’s teens have access to the world at their fingertips. While this has its benefits, it also comes with great risks. As the mother of a middle schooler, I talk with many parents about the right time to give your child a cell phone. My daughter, like most of her friends, has an ipod touch that she uses to connect with friends, to listen to music, and more.
I read a disturbing statistic recently. Forty-four percent of high school boys have seen a pornographic picture of a classmate on their cell phones (Elmore, 2010, p. 34). Wow! Forty-four percent! I don’t know about you, but this horrified me! This means that our young girls are taking nude pictures of themselves and texting (sexting) them to their peers. Just last night, I had a talk with my 11-year old about why this is wrong. (Does anyone else think that its insane that we have to to talk to our kids about this stuff). Even more disturbing is that online predators are using sextortion to gain inappropriate images of teens. They do this by convincing a young girl to send a picture of herself in her underwear; once she does, they threaten to put it on facebook or to send it to her parents if she doesn’t continue to send more pictures.
I don’t want to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand. I want to be proactive and protect my tween from the threats that are out there related to technology. The problem is that when it comes to safeguards, I’m pretty illiterate. I can do the obvious things like reading her texts and viewing her pictures, but let’s be real — those can be deleted. So, I’m asking my tech-savvy friends for your help. What programs are out there to help us protect our kids from the pitfalls that come with cell phones and ipod touches? I use safe eyes on my computer but its ratings on ipods suggested lots of glitches.
Moms — what are you doing to protect your kids?
Elmore, T. (2010). Generation iY: Our Last Chance to Save Their Future. United States: Poet Gardner Publishing.