Equipping Kids to Thrive in an Increasingly Hostile Online World
We love technology, and we know kids do, too. This popular presentation will address YouTube (can it be controlled?), social media (our expertise), pornography (let’s talk about it!), gaming addiction (is this a real thing?), screen time (what’s the right amount?), tricky people (stranger danger in the digital age). and so much more. Participants will leave with a whole list of steps they can implement immediately to better equip their kids to make better online choices. Don’t miss this valuable opportunity to hear from internet safety experts at Trinity on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m.
Anxious to start receiving the latest digital trends information from PYE? Just text the word PROTECT to 66866 to sign up. It’s so simple!
Let's Start Talking
Here are some resources from Protect Young Eyes about how to connect with kids and create meaningful discussions around technology.
It’s time to start playing video games with your kids! Be insanely curious about how you kids interact with online games. Study their behavior. And definitely play some of the games with them! I guarantee you’ll lead something brand new about your kid! This post gives some great co-playing tips.
iOS 13 Parental Controls. Are you an iPhone family? Here are complete, step-by-step instructions for taking advantage of some new Screen Time features that released in September 2019, and also, we explain some of the most frustrating loopholes that kids continue to find.
How much screen time is too much screen time? This is a common question from parents. The answer isn’t an easy one to quantify, but there are some principles parents can follow to protect their kids from overstimulation. Dr. Victoria Dunckley, a child psychiatrist uses the term “electronic screen syndrome” to describe kids who seem unable to regulate their moods or attention in an appropriate or healthy manner. Parents can read more about the fascinating but terrifying impact of screens and games on our kids here.
7 tips for spotting fake news (because it’s everywhere!). Today’s world is bursting with information – including fake news. We have so much right at our fingertips. But how much of what’s out there is actually credible? If you’re a parent, educator, or church leader responsible for keeping kids safe on the internet, here are seven ways you can teach them to separate fact from fiction by identifying fake news.
What’s the Deep Web? What’s the Dark Web? There is a different and both are important to understand. One you’re already using, even if you haven’t thought about it, while one you probably aren’t (which is probably a good thing!). This post simply explains the difference so that you can be informed.
Pornhub is on Snapchat and parents have no idea. We wish Snapchat would give parents more control of some of the features in the app. It is possible to have easy access to the largest porn site on the web by going through Stories. Your best defense is to set up Screen Time controls on an iPhone and Family Link on Android. This post shows how easy it is to find explicit content.
iPhone privacy isn’t what you think it is. This post explains all of the toggles and places where you might need to make changes in order to keep your content private, like turning off location settings on your pictures! You’d be amazed at how much data you could be sharing with every photo. PYE explains everything!
Do you know much about Snapchat’s filters? On of Snap’s most popular features, filters allow you to add crazy animations, sounds, images, and more to your face. There’s an entire catalogue of lenses built by other users that anyone can access. Bunny ears, facial hair, dog face, shark face, turn you into a hotdog, show you with marijuana, stretch your neck, show you pregnant, just to name a few. If your child has Snapchat, then be curious and have some fun with these. Ask them to show you! Here’s an article that explains a few of the positive and negatives.
Instagram was named the #1 app for child grooming by CNN. Our testing proves why. After the CNN report, Protect Young Eyes created test accounts and impersonated an average teenager using the app. The results were shocking. Their testing proves that even good kids are exposed to extremely tempting and potentially compromising situations just simply due to how the app is built. Instagram’s feature, like hashtags and DMs (direct messaging) create significant risks. Please take 5 minutes to read their full report. Be warned - some information is offensive. PYE didn’t censor what they experienced.
Cyber flashing. When kids send other kids unsolicited porn via iPhone. Did you know that the default settings on iPhones allow anyone to send other unsuspecting iPhone users images and other media? It’s through the AirDrop setting, and unfortunately, unless you change it, your phone could be visible to anyone else with an iPhone. So, that kid on the bus with bad intent? Yea, he can send other kids with iPhones anything he wants. This post shows parents how to change the settings. This is a must read for iPhone families!
Recently, this mom shared the instructions she gave to her son with his first smartphone. We think they’re pretty good! Maybe they could work for you and your kids? You can read her list in this 2- minute post.
BARK – Does your child use iMessage, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat? Bark Parental Controls can help identify inappropriate bullying and sexualized comments in both apps, keeping parents informed. There are few options for monitoring Snapchat and Instagram. You can read more about BARK here. BARK is the ONLY social media monitoring solution we recommend at Protect Young Eyes.
Instagram has come under fire for grotesque images of self-harm. It’s called Suicide P*rn. Parents simply need to be aware of the types of content available to all children and teens who have Instagram because there are no parental controls. There are five extremely practical steps parents can take to help their kids navigate Instagram at least better. Be warned - the images included in this post are real and disturbing.
Nurses and pediatricians at one large Children’s hospital are seeing a disturbing trend. Kids sexually abusing other kids. They think it’s due to porn. Yes, you read that correctly. Because kids have brains that love to copy, when kids are exposed to pornography, early, it seems they are being compelled to try it on other kids. You can read the full story in this post, Peer-on-Peer Sexual Abuse. Nurses Point to Porn. Let’s protect our kids!
Are you interested in sharing powerful tech statements with your friends? Protect Young Eyes has created a set of meme-like images that can be shared on social media to promote good digital behavior with your friends. Just click on an image, right click, and save to your device.
Parents, there’s an easy, free, and effective way to block most porn on devices. The domain name system (DNS) acts like a digital phone book for all of our internet searching. Clean DNS providers can help protect our kids from porn, violence, gambling, and other online temptations! You can learn all about how to configure your digital devices to use a clean DNS provider by following the detailed instructions in this blog post!
Have you set-up iOS 12 correctly on your Apple devices? On September 17, 2018, Apple released iOS 12, which brings some powerful parental control tools. Parents will want to follow the steps in this blog post, which includes screenshots and a ton of great information. Please note that even if you don’t update your phone to iOS 12, but your kid does, this will disable any Restrictions you might have already set up on the child’s device. Blog post: How Do I set up iOS 12 Screen Time?
Are your kids #predatorproof? In the digital age, too many nice kids don’t know how to handle nice questions online from people they don’t know. This is a dangerous situation! Read about how one teen almost found trouble on Snapchat because he didn’t know what to do with a seemingly “nice” stranger. Blog post: Prepare for Predators - Help Nice Kids Win in the Digital Age.
Gaming Addiction is becoming more and more real. Recently, the World Health Organization has started talking about gaming addiction having similar impacts as substance abuse. Have your kids pressured you about Fortnite? Is gaming addiction real? Our friends at Protect Young Eyes provide some balanced information about the signs of gaming addiction that you can use to assess your own children.
What makes Snapchat so addictive? What’s the big deal about the Snapstreak? These are good questions and the answers are important because the creators of Snapchat are very smart about the teenage brain. They know what makes it “tick” and how to make it want their product. Instagram isn’t much different. Why are teens more anxious than ever? The answer is explained in this post about what social media does to ramp-up teenage worry. Post: Snapstreak Addiction – Why Kids Can’t Put Snapchat Down.
Do you enjoy taking photos of your child on their first day of school? Standing in front of the bus? Have you ever thought about the quantity of information each photo shares with the world? Digital privacy is under attack like never before and there are sinister people out there stealing our data and our identities. Digital Kidnapping is a real thing that parents can take steps to prevent by making sure their social media privacy settings are appropriate, as explained here.
What's the right age to give my kid a social media account? This is a great question that parents of elementary and middle school students often have. Age is important (the law says age 13 is the minimum!), but what other factors should parents consider? This blog post from Protect Young Eyes answers these questions and many others. Are you a parent who is concerned about internet safety? Then don't miss this post.
How do I properly use YouTube's parental controls? YouTube is the second most popular search engine with over 2 billion searches daily! Kids love it, but parents typically don’t. There are some steps parents can take to enable a safer search experience for their kids, which is very important. Make no mistake - there is an abundance of inappropriate and downright pornographic content on YouTube. Please read this blog post that includes detailed, step-by-step instructions for protecting all types of internet-ready devices from junk on YouTube!
What are the 4 most dangerous places for kids to be online? The Protect Young Eyes team has over four decades of youth ministry experience and has found that there are four places where internet risk skyrockets. Do you know what they are? You might be surprised. Please read more about them here so that you can make sure the right controls are in place. When parents know the risks, they can do the right things to protect their kids.
Do you know what COPPA is and how it applies to kids online? The Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act took effect in 2000, with the declared purpose of protecting the privacy of children under age 13. As a result, all social media sites, including Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok, disallow underage children from using their services. Our friends at Protect Young Eyes suggest high school is a more appropriate age for social media. Elementary and middle school students just aren’t ready.
Does this app have a hidden doorway to Google? This is a common question received by our friends at Protect Young Eyes. The typical answer is YES. They believe it’s wise to make the assumption that just about any app, regardless of the app’s purpose, has some hidden backdoor to Google. And, if your child is using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, hidden Google searches through apps don’t obey the phone’s Restrictions! Protect Young Eyes recommends using the 7-day rule – all parents use apps for 7 days before allowing kids to have access. No matter what Disney princess is on the app!
“My Kid is a good kid and wouldn’t do that.” This is a statement that is often used by well-intentioned, Christian parents when they hear statistics about porn, predators, sexting, and other digital issues. The truth is, the Internet is an equal opportunity destroyer. It preys on all kids in some way. The founder of Protect Young Eyes, Chris McKenna, wrote about the four myths parents believe in this blog post at Covenant Eyes. It includes a heartbreaking story that could represent any good, Christian family.
Not recycling is worse than watching pornography. This was the majority opinion of Americans ages 13-24 in a 2016 Barna survey titled The Porn Phenomenon. The world’s largest pornographic website issues annual statistics about how much horrible content is consumed. During 2016, 92 billion (with a “b”) videos were watched. That’s over 12 pornographic videos for every man, woman, and child on earth. We must be ferocious in our protection of kids from this filth. This blog post explains more about the porn issue and what parents can do to protect their precious children.
“My son was sexually abused at a sleepover.” This horrifying statement came to the Protect Young Eyes team through a private Facebook message from a distraught mother. Her 11-year-old son had been shown pornography at a sleepover and was then sexually. This situation points out the serious issue of early porn exposure, the risk of sleepovers in the digital age, and that parents must be informed about the internet risks in every home where their kids are spending time.
Two easy steps for every family that uses Apple products! Apple’s products, including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, all use the same operating system. They also all come with the same awesome parental controls. All families using Apple should know about Restrictions, Family Sharing, and Guided Access. They’re easy to use. Protect Young Eyes explains how to use each of these features in this helpful blog post.
What’s the right age to talk to my kid about pornography? This is a common question received by our friends at Protect Young Eyes. Here are their responses: (1) if you wait until you’re ready (mom and dad), it’s too late, and (2) your kid is ready before you are. In the digital age, it’s important to talk through anything your kids might experience on the tablet before they experience it. Don’t worry. Our friends at Protect Young Eyes have provided some great tips for getting started with all the awkward conversations.
We’ve been brain hacked by our technology! The world’s largest social media platforms have vast knowledge about the human brain. They know that the smartphone is the new slot machine, giving its users a rush of neurochemicals with every post, notification like, and comment. The Snapstreak is a perfect example, preying on teen anxiety. Would you like to be better informed about these kinds of risks? Just text the word “protect” (no quotes) to the number 66866 to enroll in the Protect Young Eyes bi-weekly tech updates.
The #1 teen issue being reported to law enforcement is underage sexting. Police Departments around the country are being inundated by situations where minors are sending nude photos to other minors. In Michigan, and dozens of other states, minors who send a nude photo of themselves can find themselves guilty of creating, possessing, and distributing child pornography. This is serious business. It’s the type of behavior that changes futures. Here is some information about what to do to prevent sexting and also what to do if sexting occurs.
Where the kids are, that’s where the predators are. Young kids flock to certain gaming and social media platforms, like Roblox and TikTok. This is not lost on predators, who pay attention to these trends and also make their homes on these apps, using fake profiles to chat with and groom young children. Too many young people are using social media and they just aren’t ready. Please read more about the risks here.
Kids say things with their thumbs that they’d never say with their tongues. The impersonal nature of technology makes it so easy to say cruel things. James 3 reminds us to “tame the tongue.” Today, we also need to remind our kids to “tame the thumbs.” This, and many other digital realities are covered in a series of teaching videos made just for parents by Protect Young Eyes. Learn about constantly evolving digital risks, including online pornography, predators, cyberbullying, teen tech addiction, and social media. Their parent educational portal can be accessed here.
Instagram is the worst app for mental health. This was the conclusion of a 2017 study performed by the Royal Society of Public Health in the UK, which surveyed 1,500 young people aged 14-24 on the impacts of social media on their lives. Does your child use Instagram? Are you aware of its risks? What about Snapchat and the recent rash of suicides attached to the app? Our friends at Protect Young Eyes want parents to be aware and informed so that they can prepare their kids for the impact of these apps on their hearts and minds.
Pray specifically for the purity and protection of our children. Even Christian parents need to be reminded of the monumental power of prayer in the fight for the hearts and minds of our children. This is especially true in the digital age! Lord, please help us! Then, equip yourself with education about what kids are experiencing by watching videos from Protect Young Eyes and reading about resources that can protect your family.
Parents, are you ready to receive daily news about digital risk via social media? Protect Young Eyes is constantly posting content on their Facebook page for concerned parents like you. Follow them on social media today and start receiving their daily posts about the latest tech trends.
Tricky people is the new stranger danger. Parents, have you talked to your kids about “tricky people”? Strangers are identified by what they look like. Tricky people are identified by what they say online. Can your child identify a tricky question? This blog post explains how tricky people are different from the “stranger danger” lessons many parents received as children. The difference is very important.
Do you know the difference between filtering and monitoring? These words are sometimes used interchangeably, but, they represent very different strategies. The age and stage of your kids dictates the type of internet safety strategy your use in your home. Unsure of which is best for your family? Protect Young Eyes founder Chris McKenna wrote the following blog post for another great organization about how kids beat even the best internet filters.
Mom and dad own every internet-ready device in the house. Did your son receive an iPhone for his 14th birthday? Did your daughter bring a Chromebook home from school? What about the Kindle that came under the Christmas tree? Parents, it’s important to remind your kids early and often that every internet-ready device in the home is co-owned by you. And, you have access to it 24/7. There’s no such thing as internet privacy in the digital age! Inspect and verify. You can learn about tips like this in the Protect Young Eyes Resources, where you can watch videos about the latest digital risks, including Snapchat, Instagram.
Have you heard of OpenDNS? This free service gives parents an element of control over the types of websites available through their internet service provider (e.g., Comcast, Charter, Xfinity, etc.). It can be complicated to set up, so take time to find a friend at church or school who can help. It’s worth the effort.
Does your child have an Xbox? The Protect Young Eyes team has created a step-by-step guide for making sure parental controls are set up appropriately on the Xbox. Controlling the types of games kids play is only one of many risks parents should be aware of when it comes to today’s gaming systems.
Both Snapchat and Instagram provide easy access to pornographic content. Our friends at Protect Young Eyes have poured a ton of time into dissecting these apps, diagnosing the risks, and providing helpful tips for parents. First, you’ll want to read: Instagram has a Porn Problem (Instaporn). Second, don’t miss this wildly popular post about the Discover section of Snapchat. Both show parents how one click can make a huge difference.
Do violent video games cause violent behavior in kids? The problem with finding the scientific answer to this question is that it can’t be tested (at least not ethically!). But, in 2011, a study at Indiana University compared the brains of students who had played first-person shooter games for 10 hours/day for a week with those who had not. The MRI results were stunning. The brains of the video game group showed less activation in brain regions that control emotion and aggressive behavior! Young males are especially vulnerable. Parents can read more about the impact of screens and games on our kids here.
In the summertime, internet risks go up, up, up. As we prepare for summer break, it’s important for parents to recognize the situations that increase digital risk that are unique to this block of time. The places, patterns, and people of summer create new risks for parents to mitigate. Our friends at Protect Young Eyes provide tips for parents here.
Merry Christmas! Now, protect those devices! If your son or daughter is the fortunate recipient of an internet-ready device, then please take a few moments to understand how to enable parental controls on the device. In order for us to create a safe environment here at school, we depend on families creating safe environments at home with their kid’s device(s). We are only as strong as the weakest family. Our friends at Protect Young Eyes have a website full of explanations for today’s popular devices. Visit them today!
Does your child have access to the App Store? Do you know what’s in there? The team at Protect Young Eyes have given three reasons to keep the App Store turned off (Google Play for an Android device) until age 16 for most kids. With over 5 million items to choose from, these app stores provide a multitude of ways to have fun or find trouble. Parents, this blog post is practical and a must.
Mobicip Parental Controls – A recommendation for Android from the Protect Young Eyes team. Mobicip works on Android products to give parents peace-of-mind about internet searches, app usage, and time-of-day limits. Parents can read more about Mobicip here.
Covenant Eyes Internet Accountability – A recommendation for teenage users of iOS or Android from the Protect Young Eyes team. Covenant Eyes sends a report of Internet activity to parents or a trusted adult, so that teens learn to use the internet responsibly. They invented online Accountability! Parents can read more about Covenant Eyes here.