ATTENTION PARENTS….Please speak with your children about the dangers and consequences of inappropriate cell phone, social media, and internet use. Currently, in our society, technology available to our children can literally put the world at their fingertips, however with that ability comes a great deal of responsibility and vulnerability. Please make yourself aware of your child’s activity on any devices that they may have access to and keep in mind that even if your child may not have a cell phone, they may have friends that do, giving them access to others. Explain to your children that inappropriate activity can include the following:
- Sending mean or rude messages
- Sharing inappropriate pics or posts including drinking, drug use, criminal activity, hate speech, profanity, lewd or offensive gestures, revealing or sexual images and threats.
- Talking about adult subjects like sex, with people they don’t know.
- Visiting adult sites
If your child sees any of these types of posts they should try to avoid them in the future, refrain from reposting it, and report it to you or another responsible adult. Be aware that posted or shared items can spread very quickly, reaching people that you do not want them to reach and they are permanent. Once information is posted on the internet it is virtually impossible to control where it goes. Young people need to be aware that revealing images can be shared without your permission, they can be a catalyst for bullying, and they can even be used to blackmail you to send more images.
Please emphasize to your children that these inappropriate activities can have many long lasting, negative effects. They can not only ruin one’s reputation, but jeopardize the safety of your child, their friends and family. They can also cause them to be in trouble with school and the law. Most young people do not realize that sending or even possessing revealing or sexual images of a minor is a felony and they can be charged criminally. These types of activities can have a negative influence on college, jobs, and other opportunities years after they actually occur. Please have this conversation with your children, do not assume this type of thing could not happen to your child. Children have many outside influences on them including their own personal desire to “fit in” or be popular. They are also, often times, very trusting of their peers and have a false sense of security while interacting with others via social media and texting. Please make them aware of the possible consequences and dangers that they can make themselves susceptible to when using technology to communicate with others.