The internet these days is a scary place. Sure, it’s exciting and interesting, and the information it contains can be really useful, but I still worry about my kids and what they are watching and reading. One of the main reasons we started this blog as a family was to guide our boys towards safe use of the internet, and show them that you can have a blog or YouTube channel but still be safe online. I know lots of bloggers feel differently about how much information they share about their families. Some don’t even show their own or their kids’ faces, others are happy to use full names and state where they live.
We sit somewhere in between – we don’t use surnames on our blog, only talk about the general area where we live, and don’t share the kids’ school (and get them to take their school jumpers off for any photos/videos). I know that people could find these things out if they really tried hard, but I guess it stops any opportunists who fancy hanging around the school gates for goodness knows what reason! We always joke that any abductor would soon bring them back when they found out what they’re really like, but we all know the reality is far darker than that.
I must admit that YouTube is one of my biggest worries currently. My kids would watch it all day if I let them! But a lot of the content is inappropriate, and I don’t like the influence it has. I’m not just speaking about pornography, but a lot of prank type videos, destruction, and generally ‘silliness’ which seems to indicate to them that it’s ok to behave this way, whilst I try to stress to them that this is not the way normal people go on. I also hear bad language occasionally, even from gamers who I would expect to ‘tone it down’, and although I don’t allow them to play games like GTA and Call of Duty, I have caught them trying to watch videos on YouTube of other people playing them.
The next big worry will be social media. Hugo got a mobile phone for his birthday, and I’ve already made him delete a social media app. I just don’t feel they are ready for the potential abuse that social media brings. I’ve already drummed into them about dangers of communicating with people over x-box that they don’t know, and as far as I’m aware they are careful, but I just can’t look over their shoulders 24/7. I dearly wish I could sometimes!
So today I want to share with you this infographic. We haven’t been paid to do so or anything, I just think it’s an important message, and one very close to home with us as our children enter their ‘tweenage’ years in a digital age.