Technology is great in so many ways. It helps us to connect with our friends and family, even if they’re far away. However, it also helps other people to communicate with us, who don’t necessarily have good intentions. This is why most experts advise that the longer you wait to give your child a smartphone, the better. Some suggest that the ideal age is 12, while others say 14, as these can be addictive, and they can expose children to online bullying, child predators, and sexting. These last problems are now getting worse thanks to social apps such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, to mention a few.
Thorn, a child-protection nonprofit organization, carried out a recent study. It reveals that at least one out of three minors had experienced “online sexual interaction,” which included being asked to send or receiving nude content.
“Young people use many of the same widely popular platforms as adults, often in spite of age limitations put in place by the platform. They are drawn to opportunities to meet new people, generate content and build a following, and explore without fear of judgement.
While the internet offers boundless opportunities to connect and discover, it also creates new opportunities for risk and harm. Nearly half of participants (48%) said they had been made to feel uncomfortable, been bullied, or had a sexual interaction online.
While the most common experiences reported involved bullying or generally being made to feel uncomfortable (38%), 1 in 3 participants reported having had an online sexual interaction.
Response options coded as an “online sexual interaction” in analysis included: being asked for a nude image or video, being asked to go “on cam” with a nude or sexually explicit stream, being sent a nude photo or video, or being sent sexually explicit messages.
The most common online sexual interactions that participants reported involved receiving sexual messages (such as a “sext,” 21%), receiving a nude photo or video of the sender (18%), or being asked for a nude photo or video (18%).”
According to this research, the most dangerous apps for your child are Instagram and Snapchat, with 16 percent of minors reporting sexual interactions on both platforms. Now, most of them just blocked the perpetrator, 46 percent of these cases were reported on the platform, and only 29 percent of the children talked to their parents about the situation.
So please, be careful with what your kids do when they’re on their smartphones or tablets. Remember to talk with them and warn them about the risks that come with social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and more. Or just refrain from getting them a smart device if you consider that they’re too young.