By Hilary Smith - Were Smartphones and digital devices at the top of your kids’ wish list this past Christmas? With one in every five mothers of children between 4-7 intending to buy digital devices for their children during the holiday season, it is likely you bought one for your child too. Their small eyes no doubt glowed with excitement as they opened the neatly wrapped present under the tree, while you also glowed, happy in knowing you were able to provide them that special present they had been longing for.
Unfortunately, as parents that glowing feeling doesn’t last as
long as the glow of the screen. After the ribbons and bows are untied parents
need to understand that presents of cell phones and other internet-enabled devices
can threaten to derail a child’s health, safety, and happiness if used in
excess or inappropriately.
Lurking behind the excitement and fun of apps, social media,
and snapping selfies is the darker side of technology that many parents often
fail to recognize. Smartphones look innocent at first glance, but they can be
very dangerous for children. Cyberbullying, sexting, oversharing, texting while
driving, and even addiction are all problems a child may encounter.
One threat that catches many parents off guard is that of
online predators seeking innocent children to exploit. It is estimated that
500,000 sexual predators are logged online and scouring the Internet for images
and contact information to fuel their obsessions. It is essential for parents
to understand how online predators target children, make contact, and ways to
keep our youth safe.
The hazard of online predators can leave parents seeking
ways to protect their children by using parental controls or monitoring online
and cell phone activity. Many families
turn to WebCurfew
for a good way to set responsible boundaries around their children’s online
usage. With a little proactive planning and heart-to-heart talks, parents can
help children merrily use their technology gift all year long.
For more information on children and online predators please
read the infographic below.
By: Born and raised in
Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets,
technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys
writing about family and parenting related topics