The World Wide Web is the greatest invention since the printing press. Nothing else has so radically shaped culture, media, commerce, entertainment, and communication. However, with these benefits come great dangers all parents and children should know.
ACS presented a Hidden Dangers of the Digital Age class at the Soldier Support Center on April 20. The mission of this course was to educate parents about some of the obstacles they might encounter when it comes to their children being online.
“When we put something online, it’s no longer ours,” said Shadia Young, Instructor of the ACS Hidden Dangers of the Digital Age class. “We have to assume that once it’s out there. All bets are off regarding our safety, privacy and what other individuals do with that.”
During the session, Young explained to parents many issues teens have been facing when it comes to the Digital Age. Powerpoints and videos of scenarios presented during the class gave parents visual examples of some of these issues.
“If you happened to see your child looking at something inappropriate, don’t freak out and start yelling or panicking,” Young said. “That will just make the child shut down, and they might try to explore whatever it is they were looking at behind your back.”
“It is best to approach them calmly and ask them questions. For example, ‘Hey, what are you looking at? Why are you looking at this?’ This gives the impression they can come talk to you about a situation.”
Topics such as sexting, cyberbullying, predators, games applications, social networks and YouTube were discussed.
Proficient strategies were used as examples of approaching children when they use of the internet inappropriately: Do not frighten them, listen attentively, tell them it is not their fault, etc. were techniques offered for parents to apply to their situations.
Other lessons consisted of what not to post. With the increasing growth of Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat, many parents face obstacles with what their children post or view on social media. This course assisted parents on how to monitor their children and discuss with them the importance of knowing how to correctly use the web. Also knowing the consequences of the decisions they make.
This course was not only informative for youth but for as adults as well. In addition, the instructor discussed how parents need to be aware of what they post on social media, themselves. Furthermore she stated the dangers of military spouses posting information such as their significant other being deployed and how they will be living alone during that time.
“You have to be very careful posting stuff like this on social media,” Young said. “We like to, sometimes, show everybody our lives: like posting pictures of our children, where we live and what we do ... If I post something like that, a predator will know I am about to be home alone with my kids for X amount of months, and there are dangerous people out there who look for things like that. We really have to be careful of what we post.”
The instructor advised the classroom of the dangers of posting their infants in the bathtub. Pictures like that can sometimes get the attention of individuals who have bad intentions with children.
Many individuals are so accustomed to social media and everything being digital, that sometimes they forget about the dangers that can form behind a simple situation.
No one can completely protect his or her child from dangerous situation that can occur in this digital age. Yet parents can take this course to obtain the training and resources in order to minimize the risks that can occur.
Parents can register for upcoming classes and learn more information by visiting https://bragg.armymwr.com/calendar/event/hidden-dangers-digital-age-protect-your-children-online/1995066/23669