Last night, I got the opportunity to teach two groups of parents at North Side concerning children and technology.  We simply scratched the surface concerning education and protection of their children.

Most of the things I shared were enlightening.  Technology and media change so rapidly, it is hard for a parent to keep up.  And while 20 years ago, someone would have to work hard to view pornography, it now comes looking for us on computers, TV, and even phones.

To try to really get at the heart of the matter, I recruited some college students to help.  I wanted to get them to help equip other parents concerning the battles their children are facing.  Due to their responses, I compiled a list of 46 things most parents don’t know about their children and technology.

This is not an exhaustive list.  Everything I received wasn’t written down on this list.  There are some obvious ones that they didn’t mention.  You might know many more and feel free to share.

Understand this: The students I asked to participate in this survey are currently walking with Jesus.  They are involved in a church, Bible study, or BCM currently.  Most of them were raised in the church and have lived a good, moral life compared to their peers.

And also realize that the situations I asked them about were 1-4 years ago which in the age of information equals to about 100 years of advancement.

My question I gave and received antonymous responses was this:

“Complete this sentence: Concerning media, my parents never knew…”

  1. Friends used Skype for live pornography
  2. People make false accounts (called cat fishing)
  3. That the computer block doesn’t work
  4. What erasing history or cookies meant
  5. I sent/received inappropriate pictures with my boyfriend
  6. They should have never had given me a TV in my bedroom
  7. You can use Twitter to rant/trash everyone and everything
  8. That I found shortcut websites to sites that block parents from other sites
  9. I used code to text message so my parents didn’t know what I was talking about
  10. How many scandalous pictures there are on Facebook
  11. How easily I could contact my friends and so they never really were engaged with my social life
  12. PG-13 moves are a real danger zone
  13. What sexting was until it came out in the news
  14. What Snapchat, Vine, Twitter, Instagram is.  They are just figuring out Facebook
  15. People can get their accounts hacked
  16. I used acronyms on text messages so that my friends were aware when my parent walked in the room
  17. I was admitted into R-rated movies before I was 17
  18. An app may appear to be one thing but it is actually a photo album
  19. Most of my internet access was done through apps instead of browsers and harder to trace
  20. I could use P2P servers to get free stuff
  21. I made fake Twitter, Facebook, or email accounts
  22. Personal information can get stolen easily
  23. I could use a private browser so they couldn’t monitor my history (if they wanted to eradicate bad internet behavior, they needed to disable these functions)
  24. How to use the technology that I used
  25. When I changed my password
  26. I Skyped and emailed somebody my parents didn’t allow me to text
  27. What websites I visited because erasing history from them was easy
  28. I participated in chatrooms with strangers
  29. What pictures I was posting on social media sites
  30. Internet filtering is good, but monitored computer time is best
  31. You can talk to people on video games with microphones
  32. You can download an app then get rid of it
  33. I had 2 accounts – 1 to show if parents asked and another to show what I didn’t want them to see
  34. Phone apps that can message people can have a disguised icon that can be a random image and title
  35. I had access to a webcam and any music/photos I wanted
  36. There are Facebook pages that are pornographic and can’t be as easily detected
  37. How accessible pornography was for me
  38. Most of my friends blocked certain things from their parents on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook – their parents saw some of their activity but not all of it
  39. That there credit card info stayed logged in on many purchase sites like Amazon or Ebay
  40. I knew how to “proxy” away from censors
  41. There are apps that hide apps
  42. That I had it rougher having complete access to a computer than children without access to one
  43. I could get around any block
  44. That my interaction on my phone is as dangerous as on the computer
  45. Snapchat is an app that after pictures are sent they can’t be reopened so there is a temptation to send something to show someone that couldn’t be passed along
  46. What I looked at on the computer, who I texted, or what was on my Facebook or in my email inbox (nothing bad, they just didn’t know past age 13)

Protect your children, protect your children, protect your children.

Even if they slam doors or cuss at you, even if you are labeled as the uncool parent, even if you feel like you are always on their back, realize this:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  -1 Peter 5:8

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.