Kik, Yik Yak, Craigslist….you may recall when each of these platforms was under scrutiny for allowing explicit content while also allowing its users to remain anonymous. Some similar sites have been shut down,while others continue to remain active by revamping their platform, thus, allowing the content to continue in more secretive ways.
But honestly, the real problem isn’t the platform, it’s the people. Shutting down the site doesn’t make the users go away, it just moves them to a different place. It’s almost like playing Whack-A-Mole. And for parents who are trying to block such sites for their children, the task can be overwhelming.
The best course of action parents can take is to keep an open dialogue and talk regularly with their children. By monitoring your child’s behavior and keeping an eye out for any irregularities such as moodiness, anxiety, refusing to talk, or being secretive, parents can be quick to intervene and help. As a means of being proactive, parents can make sure all downloads meet their approval before being downloaded by changing the settings on their children’s devices.
If you have Apple devices, you can do this by creating a family account and on the screen time setting. If you are Android users, you can manage your child’s devices and settings through Family Link. Regardless, look for a parental controls category under settings. You can also block numbers if you are concerned about text messages.
These steps are good steps to take, but there is one step that should take place above all others. Know the names of your child’s friends. Ask questions about them. Know why they are friends…what do they have in common….how do they know one another. And LISTEN. Listen to your child. Give your undivided attention. That can be invaluable to both of you.