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Social Media Discussion Points for Parents

Just the Facts:
  • Social Media is not all bad or all good, how the kids use it is what matters.
  • Their decisions on usage have consequences, some serious sexting/legal.
  • Social media contributes to loneliness, loneliest generation on record.
  • Kids are losing the ability to develop and the know how to meaningfully connect with others.
  • How kids use social media elevates feelings of anxiety and depression, not simply because they use it but it’s what they are using it for and or exposed to.
    • Boys: Gaming, and not such a need to be seen/have a presence known.
    • Girls:  visual platforms, videos, and pictures.
  • Teens seek affirmation on social media, as when parents were themselves kids; however, the affirmation is given very quickly now.
  • Social Media usage is a privilege and not a right, must make sure kids are training and educated on the online world and have clear expectations of their usage and subsequent responsibilities.
  • The more things change the more they stay the same, just a different platform.
  • The Internet seems to have created a new way of doing old things, rather than being a technology that changes the manner in which people live their lives.
    • Relationships, socialization, popularity, flirting, etc.      
  • What kids are posting may not be really what they are feeling.
    • True feelings and or emotions may be hiding in plain sight.
  • When we know better, we do better.
  • Offline stress/issues carry over to the online world.
  • 70% of communication is not around actual words, body language.
  • Trend continues to move to visual effects over texting.   

Parent Involvement

  • Develop a plan around social media regulation with your kids.
    • I.e., setting time limits, putting it down at dinner table, time before bed.
  • Parents need to work with the kids on developing a healthy balanced view of what social media is and what can happen relatable to the real world.
  • Parents need to use their own examples of how social media has made them feel left out of things and that that’s OK, how they coped with that. Talk about not being included.
  • Parents need to model social media usage and behavior to be consistent with expectations of kids.
  • Parent need to talk to their kids about those other kids who may be left out and to teach kids to be thoughtful of those who may be left use.

Predators use gaming consoles to “get foot in the door”

Posted by Wendy Koch

Sexual predators are using gaming consoles such as the Wii, PlayStation, and Xbox to meet children online.

“Child predators are migrating from traditional methods to alternate media,” says Detective Lt. Thomas Kish of the Michigan State Police. “They are going to places where children are.”

Predators view games that allow kids to access the Internet and text message other players as a “foot in the door,” he says.

Parents may not realize that gaming consoles have become Internet devices or that savvy kids can bypass parental controls, says Marc Rogers, director of Purdue University’s Cyber Forensics Lab.

Police who have been doing stings in Internet chat rooms for years now are going undercover to catch predators playing interactive games, ranging from Grand Theft Auto to old-fashioned chess and checkers. They’re making arrests.

In Utah, a man was charged this year with sexual exploitation of a minor for enticing a 12-year-old boy he met through an online game into having sex, says Lt. Jessica Farnsworth, field commander of the Utah Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. She says predators meet kids on a game, “groom them and then try to move off the game.”

In December, Michigan prosecutors convicted Adam Glenn Schroeder of criminal sexual conduct with a minor and using a computer to commit a crime. He used a game, World of Warcraft, to lure a 12-year-old girl into having sex with him. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Police had found Schroeder on other games. “This guy had been doing it for a while,” Kish says.

In another case, Kish says, a 10-year-old boy playing the Halo Xbox game got a video message from a man that showed the adult engaged in a sex act.

Farnsworth says her office has seized many Xbox machines for investigation and has received training from the maker, Microsoft, on how to extract text messages and other information from them.

Microsoft trains police at national conferences, says Tim Cranton, associate general counsel for the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Enforcement program.

Cranton says the Xbox has password-protected “family settings” that allow parents to turn off Internet access or track content and contacts. PlayStation and Wii also have such controls.