How safe are we today online?
The more I do ministry, the more I realize that we are in trouble when it comes to teenagers and technology. When I counsel students who are addicted to porn or families as they walk through this new digital world, there is always a naivety. Parents are in denial that unlimited access to the internet and their digital devices could cause harm to both them and their families. Parents need help in understanding this digital world, and how it will affect their kids lives.
This infographic called: Family and Teen’s Cyber Security is a helpful look at cyber crime and digital addiction. This is only going to become more and more normalized in our culture. We will look at some alarming stats from this infographic and what you as a youth worker can do about it.
90% of students have witnessed cyber bullying and ignored it. They didn’t say anything about it. Last year, we had an issue with one of our small groups and a instagram comment thread. It got out of control fast, and the leaders had to shut the whole group down because students were bashing and bullying others with leaders in the group.
It was alarming because there was almost nothing you could do to stop this. When we sat the girls down face-to-face to talk about the bullying, they stopped it. It might have been the only time when someone actually intervened.
The problem with cyber bullying is that only 1 in 10 victims tell their parents of the bullying online. Parents need to be informed and then start conversations with the offending parents. Youth workers could be the bridge to help students voice their bullying online and help get their parents involved.
20% of teens have sent a nude or semi-nude image of themselves. Teenagers today are the largest distributor of child porn in the world. They are self distributing it. It is mainly for their boyfriend or girlfriend, but what happens quickly is a thing called revenge porn, where they will take all those images that they have of their boyfriend or girlfriend, and once they break up they send them to friends in order to get revenge. It’s really messed up.
Again, parents have huge sway with their kids, but they don’t understand how their kids are using their devices. Reggie Joiner says, “Nobody has more influence in the life of a child than a parent. Fact. Which is why no parent can ignore the 3000 hours of influence God gives us each year.” Parents have the most influence in a kids life. Lets help them get the right resources and information.
What you can do for the parents in your church.
Suggest that they get the Circle with Disney. This is one device that we are recommending that all parents get and use in their homes. This is the single greatest way that parents can help set up digital boundaries with their kids.