No site is safe for kids. Where there are a group of kids there will be pedophiles looking to groom them. You can watch over your kids shoulder all you want but having an ongoing conversation and giving them a clue as to what to look for gives them the power to help stop these predators.
I limited my daughter to Instagram because they do a great job of filtering and monitoring content (of all the apps they do the best job in my opinion). I have seen things but also noticed them removed quickly.
Recently, my daughter had a kid at her school message her some very inappropriate videos. My daughter has a private account so she knew this kid and had friended him. After researching the situation I found out that Instagram now has a Snap Chat feature were you can direct message a short video that disappears (no evidence left). She reported him to the school even before she told me about it.
It was a brave thing to do and I couldn’t be prouder of her. We talked about how important it was that he learned his lesson now rather than later in life. How we are not at fault for another person’s decision to be inappropriate. Especially when after asked if she would like a picture she said no.
When I found out I had to sit back and process the anger, sadness, and fear before I could logically discuss this with my daughter. I won’t lie… social media scares me. I would love to protect her from its darker side. But I can’t. We don’t live in that world. So I spend as much time as I can keeping up with the new trends and I am active online as much as I can be. And I STILL missed that Instagram had that feature.
The bottom line is: Our kids are going to see these things. Even without predators to deal with we have kids who make bad choices to contend with. So with or without access to it at home. Conversations must be had. We aren’t helpless parents. We have the power to instill confidence and bravery in our kids. We are responsible for training them to be internet warriors.
If you want to know where I go to get great teaching resources: GALIT BREEN (THESE LITTLE WAVES)
Galit Breen has become one of my favorite and knowledgeable sources for online strategies for parents with kids. I love that her philosophy matches my own and I am able to relate to her wisdom on a very basic level. That basic philosophy is, “You can’t actually KEEP kids safe, you have to teach them how to BE safe.”