Protecting Our Kids from Technology - Millstone Collective Team (Part 2), Ep #18

Protecting Our Kids from Technology - Millstone Collective Team (Part 2), Ep #18

How do we protect our kids in the digital age we live in? What protections exist that parents can leverage to safeguard technology? Kristilee Cavoretto + Alicia Chandler joined us in the last episode to start the conversation about protecting our kids. 

Today, they share how we can protect our kids from the dangers associated with technology. The reality is that we can’t shelter our kids from the realities of this world forever, so we need to arm ourselves with the knowledge we need to equip them. Do not miss it. 

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in...

  • The real-life dangers of technology [2:29] 
  • Where kids are commonly targeted [14:35] 
  • The impact of social media on kids [22:30] 
  • How to protect your kids [26:26] 
  • Conversations dads need to have with kids [36:56] 
  • How to have the tough conversations [41:20] 
  • What platforms to limit access to [43:33] 

The real-life dangers of technology

Kristilee and Alicia recently taught a 10th-grade class. They asked the boys, “What is your most common concern with behavior on the internet?” Everyone was worried about bullying and negative behavior in chats. But in the digital age, there’s no break from bullying. That’s why parents can’t allow constant access to a phone.

Interestingly, all of them had been solicited sexually online. It had become so commonplace for them to receive unsolicited images of people’s private parts that they’d block them and move on. 

If children don’t get the attention they need from their parents, they will seek it elsewhere. But if a child has a strong foundation built with their parents and someone tries to prey on them, they’re more likely to be aware that they’re being manipulated. 

Kristilee and Alicia are seeing more bullying, solicitation for explicit images, an increase in self-harm behavior, and an increase in unruly behavior. 

Where kids are commonly targeted

If your kids are on games targeted toward and marketed to children, remember that it is a billboard for people targeting children (games like Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite, etc.). Immersive games are designed so that people can quickly and easily build relationships. 

There are literal networks of perpetrators targeting accounts that are known to belong to children. They gain information about the child and their family and share it within their network, so they can scare the child into doing what they want. 

Anything that allows a chat feature is not worth the risk. Kids are often directed to talk or follow someone to other platforms. Anyone can get on these games and upload their own “versions” of the game. With repeated exposure, abnormal things become normalized so that a request a child would have ignored or flagged becomes commonplace. 

Millions of sexual predators have access to our kids. That’s why we can’t allow our kids unfettered access to devices. We have to remember that we are the authorities of our children. We’d never let strangers spend time with our children without vetting them, so why would we give them unlimited access to devices?

Realistic ways to protect your kids 

Everything comes back to staying engaged and having open conversations with your kids. That foundation of trust with parents is key. But aside from that, there are some practical things you can do to protect your kids while still allowing them to be a part of things:

  • Disabling messaging or chat function on apps or games 
  • Using a phone that doesn’t allow access to the internet
  • Using parental control software on all devices
  • Only allow them to use devices in a common area (and don’t allow access at night)

Be aware that your kids are smart—they’ll do everything they can to find workarounds for the boundaries you set. They will set up fake profiles for you to follow or buy phones from their friends. Having conversations about why you’re making these decisions for them is important. Kids will violate rules if they don’t recognize the significance of them.

Lastly, give your kids the tools they need to make good choices for themselves. Have conversations about self-worth. Teach them what behaviors shouldn’t be tolerated. Prepare them to defend themselves when necessary. 

What conversations do dads of teenagers need to have? What about dads with younger kids? Listen for more great information you can use to educate and protect your kids.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Kristilee and Alicia

Connect With Scott and Dads on Tap

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Audio Production and Show Notes by - PODCAST FAST TRACK