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…”
- Friends used Skype for live pornography
- People make false accounts (called cat fishing)
- That the computer block doesn’t work
- What erasing history or cookies meant
- I sent/received inappropriate pictures with my boyfriend
- They should have never had given me a TV in my bedroom
- You can use Twitter to rant/trash everyone and everything
- That I found shortcut websites to sites that block parents from other sites
- I used code to text message so my parents didn’t know what I was talking about
- How many scandalous pictures there are on Facebook
- How easily I could contact my friends and so they never really were engaged with my social life
- PG-13 moves are a real danger zone
- What sexting was until it came out in the news
- What Snapchat, Vine, Twitter, Instagram is. They are just figuring out Facebook
- People can get their accounts hacked
- I used acronyms on text messages so that my friends were aware when my parent walked in the room
- I was admitted into R-rated movies before I was 17
- An app may appear to be one thing but it is actually a photo album
- Most of my internet access was done through apps instead of browsers and harder to trace
- I could use P2P servers to get free stuff
- I made fake Twitter, Facebook, or email accounts
- Personal information can get stolen easily
- 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)
- How to use the technology that I used
- When I changed my password
- I Skyped and emailed somebody my parents didn’t allow me to text
- What websites I visited because erasing history from them was easy
- I participated in chatrooms with strangers
- What pictures I was posting on social media sites
- Internet filtering is good, but monitored computer time is best
- You can talk to people on video games with microphones
- You can download an app then get rid of it
- I had 2 accounts – 1 to show if parents asked and another to show what I didn’t want them to see
- Phone apps that can message people can have a disguised icon that can be a random image and title
- I had access to a webcam and any music/photos I wanted
- There are Facebook pages that are pornographic and can’t be as easily detected
- How accessible pornography was for me
- 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
- That there credit card info stayed logged in on many purchase sites like Amazon or Ebay
- I knew how to “proxy” away from censors
- There are apps that hide apps
- That I had it rougher having complete access to a computer than children without access to one
- I could get around any block
- That my interaction on my phone is as dangerous as on the computer
- 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
- 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 serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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