The recent sex stings in Clay County Florida and Colorado Springs, Colorado are showing that sex is a potent influence; online Social Media environments are dangerous for minors. Cases of children committing suicide from Bullying and Cyber bullying, intoxicated girls of minor age being raped and videotaped, Sexting and Cyber Stalking shows how dangerous and violent online behaviors can be, and posted pictures and videos are showing violent acts. Every parent needs to know what their children; teens and young adults are doing online, who they are befriending, chatting with and sharing online content. This could literally mean the difference between life and death for boys and girls. As a youth consultant and educator on Social Media, teens and young adults on Social Media platforms are becoming more dangerous and exposed to unforeseen dangers.
I often hear students in fourth and fifth grades talking about their online activities. If parents were to hear these discussions they would be terrified and potentially turn-off their Internet access or monitor their children more. Youth and teens are involved in Social Media discussions that are very graphic and sexual in nature. The reality is too many parents are either in denial, ignorant, trying to be their children’s friend or just don’t care about what goes on in online environments. The reality of the dangers of Social Media platforms and the far-reaching effects can be seen in Operation Wrong Destination where men as far away as Pennsylvania, Alabama and as close as neighborhoods in Northeast Florida were arrested trying to have sexual relations with minor girls. Even though the young girls were not real (undercover detectives) the threat was real. In this situation 13 men were arrested ranging in multiple ages and careers fields.
The Internet is a dangerous place for youth; girls and boys, it is unfiltered, unmonitored and unsupervised. The story of online predators is typical, using friendship, coercion, suggestions, attention, and affection. These are the tools that predators use to befriend and eventually try to seduce young girls. As the predator befriends a child they convince the child to send partially to totally nude photos and videos. This is not a quick deal, but a gradual process to gain the trust of the child and eventually a relationship develops. Parents need to know who is potentially Sexting, Stalking, Cat fishing, Chatting, and Befriending their child or children online before the events turn tragic. Even family members can contribute to Social Media challenges by setting up the child with an account despite the parent saying “NO”. Child sex stings show that men involved are calculating, know what they want and have a “specific profile” to look for online. Parents need to know their children’s online profile and personal information that is posted. My suggestion is to Tag their children’s photos, Google their names, nicknames, photos and other personal information. Fathers spend more time with your daughters; attend events like the Daddy Daughter Dance and have a more trusting relationship that is built on communication http://www.girlsincjax.org/daddy-daughter-dance.html
During a recent presentation to high school students participating in Mayor Alvin Brown’s Learn2Earn Experience I suggested students do a search on themselves online, a few criticized my idea until they actually did it and found some amazing and even scary information that was available in photos, videos and what others had posted about them. Too many parents are in denial about their children, stating their children would never do this or that they only use the Internet for research for school. The death of Rebecca Sedwick is tragic enough, but when her attackers and stalkers seemingly don’t care that their actions caused Rebecca to commit suicide. Even one of the girls stating, “IDGAF” and got 30 Likes posted to this comment online. What morals and values are these youth being taught about the value of human life? Social Media is opening a Pandora’s Box of actions and involvement that will have lasting effects for years to come. Parents and youth, teens and young adults must understand that online content when posted never goes away. It will affect scholarships, internships, employments, careers and lifestyles in the future. Even Sheriff Judd shares his opinions about the parents and Social Media. http://www.inquisitr.com/996207/sheriff-grady-judd-blames-parents-in-florida-bully-case/
Dangers are not just through laptops, but through all digital connective devices: Smartphones, Tablets and even gaming systems that allow interactive features. Regarding the use of Blogging, Micro-blogging through Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Vine, Youtube, Vimeo and other platforms, parents must have a dialogue with their children. The dangers online are not conducive to parents being “friends” with their children. Parents need to be parents!!!!! Sheriff Judd in several interviews emphasized that parents check their children’s Social Media accounts, phone and other devices, in order that parents to be responsible and accountable for their children’s actions and not to put anything past their children. As an educator teaching Engineering and Technology, I agree. It would scare the parents to hear some the discussions I’ve heard of children and talking to them, and these are no Halloween stories. They are true and very real.
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By contributing writer Wm Jackson, M.Ed. for Young Men’s Perspective Magazine edition 3 Educator, Blogger Parent, Mentor and Speaker About.me/WilliamDJackson Blogging at My Quest To Teach http://MyQuestToTeach.WordPress.com/