If your child has access to the world, the world has access to them.
Social media platforms may change, but they aren’t going anywhere. We live in a hyper connected world that makes our social experience like an endless cocktail party. A few short decades ago you had to attend social events, parties, and game nights to get the same social interaction we now have constantly in our pocket. Our tweens have the same social lives you could only get on the college campus when we were in their age. It’s not going anywhere and it’s going to get worse.
This is amazing technology with endless benefits though. It also poses serious risk that I don’t think we truly understand yet. What we do know is that traffickers utilize the internet and social more than any other means to recruit and exploit as well as monetize their illegal acts.
If your child has access to the internet and social media, then traffickers potentially can have unfiltered access to your child. Most if not all cases of underage trafficking start with social media. It’s imperative we have a plan and strategy in place to protect our families and their online involvement.
The best practices are: talk about the issue with your children. Open communication at an early age is best. Passwords should be known by parents with the ability to spot check texts and pictures. Group charging stations for all phones and tablets as well as shut off the internet at at a certain time at night. Have a location app on all phones. Have some sort of internet filter in place.
If you are not willing to offend your child’s privacy, someone else will, who most likely has worse intentions.