In the past the internet video games were a gateway to unwanted predators looking for new victims by befriending children while using headsets to play games. Today, we face additional challenges with the advanced technology on the internet and mobile devices. Luring a child has become even easier with social media and the easy access to smart devices by children of all ages.
So, what do parents do in this digital time? Being informed is the first step with understanding what social media areas are popular vs. what is not. An example would be Facebook although the older parent generation uses it frequently the younger generation prefers to stay connected through the use of Instagram. This is only one aspect and there are many other social media sites and groups that put our children at risk. Here is a review of a popular one.
This is an app designed to allow children to snap a picture and send it to someone without it being stored on their device or on the device of the person they send it to. It is a modern day secret message system that parents have no way to stop. There is no age limit to Snapchat and anyone and everyone uses it. The risk comes in not only the not knowing, but in the content of the photos that “disappear” being illicit or illegal. Many states have started to prosecute parents of minors as sex offenders based on what their child is sending online.
So, what draws the younger users at age 8 to use it is the cool filters that can be added to pictures. However, are those filters worth risking pictures that could be harmful to your child being sent out to the internet? As a parent, the answer is simple find an alternative that allows the cool and exciting feature, but that you can check the pictures. There are many of them available in the App store for both Android and Apple devices like Snappy Photo Filters.
In the end parents need to be an active participant in their children’s life and what applications are being downloaded on their mobile phones or computers. There are many lurking strangers out there that want to befriend children and in today’s technology there are so many ways they can do so. It is important to understand what kids are doing and whom they are communicating with because we are longer in the days of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble we are in the days of lurking predators and ignorant children who just want to be connected and liked online.