A recent survey of teenage children by the charity CyberSafeKids found that almost one in three boys access potentially psychologically harmful content by playing games online over the age of 18 and one in four children say they have been bullied online .
let’s think about it We know from adults who have experienced bullying as a child that it can have a lifelong impact on a person’s confidence, so it’s a big deal. I spoke to a woman about the survey, who showed me screenshots of online bullying addressed to her
sixth grade son, including threats to rape him orally and anally and told to kill himself. She said her boy was scared of the news. This abuse came from children his age.
Aside from the abuse, what really struck me from the survey was how pervasive online access is for our children; 95 percent of eight to twelve year olds had a smart device. And 87pc had a social media or instant messaging account that could make it easier for them to access malicious content. Let’s call this content what it often is: porn and hyper violent video games for over 18s. There is only one way for elementary school children to get a phone – their parents give it to them.
This suggests that as parents, we’re often more concerned about our kids being “the only ones without phones” than what our kids see online or their emotional well-being.
I doubt most parents have thought it through in that regard, but this is the result. And it’s strange because this isn’t the generation of parents who practice benevolent neglect. This is the generation that won’t let their children walk up the street for fear of the mythical man in a white van, but some let them have unsupervised access to things they wouldn’t even see for themselves.
i am a parent So I know how heavy this stuff is and how overwhelmed I am with it. But as an adult who uses social media myself, I also know that the easy removal of digital interactions takes away a lot of the civility of face-to-face interactions.
For kids who haven’t even earned that courtesy yet, is the Internet The Lord of the Flies. Or, to update this reference, our kids are entering The Upside Down in stranger things; Dealing with monsters that we are not even aware of.
The more I think about it, I wonder if stranger things is a metaphor for the Internet? If you don’t let your kids do even slightly risky things in real life, how can you justify letting them stumble unprotected into bandit territory?
Child psychologist David Coleman says that by the age you are comfortable with your child watching porn, you should give your child a phone. According to this survey, either about 90 percent of parents are happy that their ages are between eight and twelve, or there’s a whole bunch of ostrich-like “hope for the best.”
The simplest possibility would be that no child in elementary school has a smartphone. The alternative is for parents to enable and keep updating all parental controls as hacks and apps are constantly being developed to bypass them. They should also have their password; these are your kids so it’s a safety net, no intrusion. If you let her on social media, be sure to be her friend there.
If you don’t do any of that, then for God’s sake don’t give them a phone. It doesn’t make them or you big or smart.
Statistically, it would be better to let them walk home alone in the dark late at night.
A second opinion
I was thinking of Queen Elizabeth II. Since her death, much has been said about the importance of her visit to Dublin and Cork in 2011 and what it did for healing old wounds between Ireland and the UK. She bowed her head in the garden of memory; she spoke a few words of Irish; she wore green. If that was all it took to win us over after 800 years of oppression, then she clearly opened a door.
And I think maybe she was. Ireland and the UK are so intertwined that they’re almost like a dysfunctional family. Britain is like a big sister we have long looked up to, although we often hate the way she treats us with casual indifference and sometimes cruelty.
If such small acts on the Queen’s part are enough to warm people south of the border to her after all the suffering that has happened here through Britain, then on some level it’s clear that we want to forgive.
We want to continue and have better conditions. Or do we also want to be enthusiastic about the Queen or the monarchy in a certain way? Are we a bit impressed with the crown ourselves?
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/going-online-for-kids-is-like-entering-the-upside-down-in-stranger-things-there-are-monsters-were-not-aware-of-42003973.html Going online for kids is like stepping into The Upside Down in Stranger Things – there are monsters we don’t know