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No Phones, No Social Media
The potential rewards aren't worth the porn, perverts, and predators.
Recently an older father on Twitter passed on a valuable lesson on how kids are using social media. In general, older generations have no idea how early children can get exposed to porn, perverts, and predators. Or how early they are asked to send nude pictures to other kids their own age.
Lots of people lambasted the man for his dereliction of duty, but he was offering up his own foolishness as a lesson for all of us, and for that, he did a valuable service. There is no reason for your children to have unfettered access to the internet. There is no reason for them to have a smartphone. You can make a decent case for a dumb phone once they start driving, or babysitting, or some activity in which you want them to be able to get in touch with you.
But unfiltered internet? Social media? No. You might as well hand them a loaded gun and tell them to go nuts.
Some friends of ours did the smartphone thing with their 10-year-old and their teenager. In the month leading up to Christmas, the father lamented that his kids wanted here new smartphones, and that’s it. He wished they had never given them phones, but it’s hard to close Pandora’s box once it is opened.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and he has now taken away his teenagers’ smartphones. His daughter had started getting texts about a girl who had a crush on her. It speaks highly of this father that he was able to take such a drastic measure, and his children trusted him enough to go along with it. There was a long, established relationship of love. But it’s better to never need to agonize over this decision. Fathers have enough to worry about without adding extra stress.
This doesn’t mean you raise luddites who have no idea how to use technology or gasp in astonishment when they see a keyboard. Just know that the firehose is not the only hose available.
The big email providers have family plans where you can give your children email addresses and have access to them so you know what they are doing. Or you can use a service like Tocomail. If you want a dumb phone that still has some advanced features, check out Gabb.
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