Today I watched a video about 3 tweens who made VERY unwise decisions to meet up with someone they didn't know and had met online only a couple days before. They even were trying to be sneaky about not letting their parents know.
People. This is real stuff.
This isn't just for troublemaker kids. This is your child. The parents couldn't believe that their 12 and 13 year old would do this! I promise this stuff happens. When I was a teenager I did it. I drove to a guy's house I didn't know and had just talked to online for an hour without telling anyone where I was going. Thank the Lord nothing happened to me. However, I didn't see the stupidity of my actions until I became a mother years later. I did not know in that moment how dangerous that situation really was! Teenagers aren't stupid, they just aren't fully able to make wise decisions all the time on their own. The brain isn't fully developed yet.
Please, know what your kids are doing online and on their phones. Yes it is their phone, but you are the parent. You have the right to look at everything on it. To set boundaries. Your kids need you to do that! It's for accountability and safety. It's not an invasion of privacy. It can be done with respect, but it needs to be done. How can we teach them if we are unaware and not involved?
I was telling Jonathan about the video at lunch today and decided to do a life lesson with my little ones. To prove how smart they were and how well I've taught them. You know because my kids would never be the ones to make a dumb decision.
Making it age appropriate I asked my 4 year old what she would do if a big van pulled up while she was playing outside and a man said, "Do you want a donut?" Her eyes got big and she nodded her head yes!!! (It was so adorable - the innocence, but sad and scary.) I said what if he said to come closer what would you say? She answered me, "please." 😢 I tried to ask again to clarify with more obvious details what she would say to the big scary man she didn't know in the big dark car asking her to come close to it for food... She answered, "thank you?" Oh my. My heart broke. I mean yes, I've apparently taught her how to be polite, but safe? No.
It's never too early parents to start talking to your kids about making wise decisions. People in scary vans or all the crazy stuff on social media's and cell phones! We want to keep their innocence and not scare them with the bad of the world, but we also have to teach them how to make wise choices and be aware! Let's not be naive and assume they would do the right thing without being taught & monitored. Be involved. Have the hard conversations! Our kids need us! They need us engaged and in the know when they're 4 and maybe even more so when they're 14 and 24. Build the foundation while they're young and don't stop parenting.