We as parents have to do all we do and now a little bit more. We now have to add to our parenting title the Cyber Police for our homes. There’s no other way about it, our kids need to be monitored one way or another or terrible things can happen. The internet is not the innocent place we all imagine it to be, it’s a cesspool of garbage and our kids are exposed to it every single day.
Here is what caused me to ponder on this issue and to want to do a little more. Enter Amanda Todd. Here is the video that sparked this topic for me on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQRnSIa-qQM. We all heard of this little girl and her tragic suicide death but little did I know how real her situation is in all our homes if just certain things go unattended. I had heard of her story but maybe at the time I didn’t think it would affect me. Not my kids, they are little girls. Every parent always think that their kids just wouldn’t do that. Wrong! Every kid is at risk of this and more.
My two cents on this video.While this little girl’s story is terribly tragic in every way, I feel that maybe her parents could’ve done a few little things differently to prevent her from being so vulnerable to predators. All parents do our best and maybe at the time they didn’t have the knowledge that we have now.
- First thing that struck me odd was that at just merely 9 years old her parents allowed this little girl to have a YouTube account to post videos of herself. What does a 9 year old know about online predators, or what they do or why they do what they do? This was flag number one for me. My daughter is 12 and YouTube is far from the type of apps that she’s allowed to use. Anything that I can’t monitor is completely out of the question.
- Next on the To Don’t list that her parents did was gave this little girl a webcam. A webcam! A webcam to me is an open window to a little girl’s bedroom. That’s about it. Why a parent would do this is beyond me specially for a little girl, this was a terrible mistake. I don’t care if my kids cry and kick, they are not getting an open window to their bedroom, period.
- And finally and probably the part that stuck me most odd was this. Ok, so one thing led to another and this little girl fell to the trap of the many predators. She committed a mistake that she later regretted forever but my next question was, “why did her parents allow her to continue using her laptop?". This one bothered me the most. Even after one year of this little girl being blackmailed, she continued to post videos of herself! Why? First thing I did when I found out my 12 year old merely downloaded snapchat without my permission was to take the phone away. Immediately. No buts about it, just done. Gone. This is what we old schoolers call consequences and that’s how we learn.
I had an experience first hand from the mother of a young girl that stole my daughter’s phone from her classroom. Find my phone tracked my iPhone all the way to her house, I got the address and went there. This girl from the classroom where my iPhone was stolen from answered the door. She refused to return my phone, she knew she was busted but there was no way she was giving in. Her mother was not home, she gets home at 10pm, so I said I would contact her mother that night.
“Not my little Susie! She swears she didn’t do it and I believe her.” was her mother’s response. I was shocked but none the less, not surprised. The mother stood by her daughter’s side even though she was in the classroom the phone was stolen from, and I had tracked the phone on the bus she rides all the way to her exact home location!!! I had evidence but how blind can a mother be to her children’s wrong doings? Completely and utterly blind! I don’t blame her for standing by her daughter’s lying and thieving ways, she’s a mother and her heart would break if she even considered her little girl was doing anything wrong.
Now, I stand here and my oldest is entering this world of technology unlike anything there’s ever been. Worried but not blind. You cannot defeat something you don’t see. That’s the most important thing you need to know. I have blogged about my young daughters and their development and what I have learned along the way, now I am entering a whole new area that I didn’t even expect was coming. My child psychology courses didn’t warm me about this, there was hardly any technology when I was in the university so this was not even a problem teens faced.
With technology comes responsibilities. Lots of them and I hope we can learn along the way with my mistakes and most importantly my advice. I consider myself a tech-savvy mom-person but nothing can prevent me from falling pray to this whole new area of my parenting. It’s going to be a true test of my mom-hood and take everything I have to get out of it in one piece. I have three daughters that depend on me so I will be using this information for quite a while to come.
Here’s to always doing our best and never being blind Cyber-police-mom! :)