Wednesday, February 10, 2016

keeping them safe

This past weekend, we were faced with a parenting challenge that I didn't expect to happen for at least a few more years.  Parker was told something at school about the Internet and then he tried to find it himself once he was home.  Luckily, his dad is VERY smart about Internet safety and prohibiting this kind of stuff from entering our home, that Parker's iPod blocked it from displaying the context of the website he tried to find.  Unfortunately, the next day, when some friends were over, they tried it on another iPod that wasn't ours.  And although our friends had the iPod set to 'strict' in the settings, they still saw something completely inappropriate.  What they saw was NOT something you want your 8 year old boys to view...let alone the two 5 year old little brothers that were hanging out with them.  Luckily, Parker took one glimpse and threw it on the ground...just as his brother was running up the stairs to tell mom and dad what the boys were looking at.

Since this moment, I've been reassured by many moms that it's normal for kids to be curious...for kids to do what the older kids at school are telling them to do.  But, I feel like it's my job to educate my boys - between the right and wrong of the Internet and also what's appropriate for them.  Since this moment, Brandon and I have talked with Parker about what happened and Parker agrees that if he'd known what was going to pop up on that iPod, he wouldn't have typed in those words to the Google search.  He was embarrassed...sad...and just as upset as we were that it happened.

So, this morning, as my mind was considering whether to share this with the world, or not, I read 'the hands free momma' blog {something I haven't done for months} and it hit home on this very same topic.

Please read this and share her words with your kids.

So, I wanted to make sure I shared it.  YOU GUYS - we have GOT to keep our kids safe from the disturbing side of the Internet.  Make sure you've got settings in place to keep your kids safe, not only from instances like we just had, but also from chat rooms, Internet bullying, etc.  If you need help with this, let me know and I'll have Brandon write some instructions on this blog to help you.

Also, we need to educate our kiddos.  They need to know what is safe.  That we want them to be safe.  That they can come to us with any questions they might have.  They can tell us when they don't feel safe.  Even if they think they will get in trouble, we will help them.

Now, I know our situation here was small in scale to what's out there.  But, it scared me.  Kids are smart.  Older kids influence our young ones.  And even older kids influence the kids older than ours.  The Internet can be an awesome place to learn and explore, but it also puts some pretty awful, disturbing, and gross things at the fingertips of our kids.

Please take a moment to check your iPods, computers, and iPads, and phones.  Take a few minutes and talk to your kids about Internet safety.  Print off the Hands Free Momma's words and read them to your kids.

Parenting is hard enough....luckily we can do some things to make it easier on us and protect our kids.

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