Social networking and our kids

I, like many parents, want my children to have the things they want. I don’t want them to feel like they can’t have nice things. An iPhone was one thing that my daughter wanted to have. I understood this. The games are fun and a lot of her friends have one.

I know that there are parents who are appalled at the fact that I gave my daughter a smartphone. I’ve heard both sides and agree with both. I work full time, and so does my husband. I need her to have a phone so that I know when she gets home from school, or so she can call me if needed when she isn’t home. She’s never given me any reason to think there was something I needed to be concerned about with her having one. She’s always been my level headed kid and never gave me reason to rethink that.

Until…….

About a year ago her attitude started to change.

I’m willing to overlook the weird clothes she wants to wear. I went through those phases too. Where I can’t look away, is her relentless need to talk to new people through these social networking apps. They’re popping up like wildfire. I block one, a new one appears. I don’t understand why the extreme need that these kids have. Don’t they know they’re only making it easier for predictors to find them? It’s like giving a free candy store to a predictor. The numbers of kids joining these networks and downloading these apps is growing at an alarming rate.

I’ve decided to take away the smart phone, and limit access to the internet. I’m sure that where there’s a will, there’s a way, but it won’t be by my hand. I hope that my “cutting the cord” from her access will somehow reduce the risk she is putting herself in.

I am compiling a list of the social apps that are being used, and please share any that you know of. Awareness is our only defense for our children.

No matter how honest we believe they are, or how good of kids they are, they place themselves at risk by joining these apps. Most don’t even realize it’s a risk and innocently believe they are talking to another kid their age, and they very well could be, but I’m not taking that risk anymore. For all anyone knows, they’re talking to some 40 year old guy who’s trolling for trusting kids.

My advise, no matter how good your kid is, DON’T assume they aren’t the type to look through these apps. Don’t assume that your parental blocks are keeping them out. New apps have different settings, some bypass that age restriction or present themselves as something else, but are actually portals for the social networking features.

AND…. For every app you discover and restrict or delete, 3 more pop up.

Update: 8/20

I’ve been searching through the social apps that have been flagged as possibly dangerous for our kids due to the easy access that is provided, for free.

I plan on posting what I find when I get to my computer. It will be easier to list them all that way.

I encourage you to share what you’ve experienced or apps you know.

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