EVERY PARENT AND PERSON
WORKING WITH YOUTH NEEDS TO READ THIS!!!
It is easy to believe that your children are protected if you have filters or restrictions in place. However, children can find a way to get around many of these. I did not have enough restrictions in place to prevent Lily from finding exactly how to kill herself online. Further, cyberbullying is a critical and rapidly growing problem. Ensure that your child has not set up a fake Facebook account (Lily did). If you can't avoid giving your child a cell phone, ensure that there is restriction so they cannot access certain types of sites and check their phone often to ensure they are not on facebook or any other social media until they are at least 16. There have been advancements in protecting your childs phone through controls. Talk to your phone or service provider to ensure you have all necessary restrictions in place.
And this is critical:
LOCK UP PHONES AT NIGHT!!!!
I did not do this and am certain that she was accessing things I wouldn't have allowed at night. This should be a general practice until they are over 16.
REGARDLESS... take phones at night if your children are struggling emotionally.
CHECK THEIR PHONE:
One critical mistake I made was not searching through Lily's browsing history or increasing restrictions. We had an agreement that she showed me whatever she was looking at whenever I asked. I never saw her looking at things that were concerning. Yet, after her death it became clear that she indeed had a fake Facebook account, was active on social media and had been searching sites - especially YouTube - which she should not have been able to access. Take the time to talk with your provider to ensure your child's safety. And talk with your kids about the toxicity of what is going on online. Open doors of communication.
LIMITATIONS ON TIME:
Sit down and have a conversation with your children about how much time on screens is appropriate. They will likely give reasonable ideas and will appreciate being included in the decision. This doesn't mean you give them the time they request, but that they are part of the discussion of what is going to work for your family. Model this healthy behavior by limiting your own time on your phone.
WATCH THIS with your children:
Netflix: The Social Dilemma
America Is Facing a Teen Suicide Pandemic | Psychology Today
THIS SITE OFFERS CRITICAL INFORMATION
ON PROTECTING YOUR CHILDREN ONLINE!!!
VPN Mentor - The Ultimate Parent Guide for
Protecting your child on the Internet:
The Ultimate Parental Guide to Protecting Your Child on the Internet - VPN Vanguard