About 80% of the kids said parents give them free internet reign on their phones and devices. This was a high school health class full of kids who couldn’t drive yet, whose emotional side of the brain is more active than the decision making side of their brain.
Can we talk?
- There’s a correlation between kids who spend above average time on screens and higher reports of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation.
- Social media is the primary place where traffickers connect with kids.
- The average age of kids to come across porn on a device is 9.
- Porn use among young adults is becoming normalized.
- Sex trafficking is the fasted growing crime in the small Midwestern city nearest to me.
- Nationally, it has overtaken drugs as the number one crime gangs are investing in. Kids can be used over and over again to make money, whereas drugs are just a one-time hit.
Do you see a problem?
An Ungodly Surrender
We are surrendering our kids to manage their mind, emotions, and mental health in a world that is hostile to them but also with them 24 hours a day.
We’re surrendering their childhood, mental health, and development that should be protected during the adolescent years by unrestricted technology use and disengaging from their lives.
We’re surrendering our kids to those who want to harm them. We send them into the virtual street so anyone can have access to them at any time.
We surrender their soul and expose their mental health when we minimize or ignore the impact of unrestricted technology on their social, emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and sexual health.
What Kids Say
The following were the things that were stressful about social media as reported by the health class:
- taking the perfect photo so you get likes, comments, and shares.
- looking perfect on social media
- having the perfect life
- seeing certain people outside of school
- people judging you for what you post
- being someone you’re not online
- things others say about you online.
The words straight from their mouths fell like a weight on my shoulders. Their countenance fell as we talked about sexting, porn, and the pressure in relationships.
Our kids need us. Parenting isn’t just having the happy family Instagram photo. It’s training and teaching them. Ever protecting them in areas where they still need protection.
It’s not surrendering them.
January is sex trafficking awareness month.
- The average age of a child who enters sex trafficking in the United States is 12-14.
- She/he is groomed online, sometimes in her school.
- She is considered a prime target if she seems lonely or mad at her parents online.
Do you think kids post stuff like that on social media? Um. Yes.
At an anti-trafficking conference held for my region of northern Indiana, I was challenged to do something about the problem in our community. So I’m writing about it today as part of #FiveMinuteFriday on the topic of surrender. I’m in the middle of speaking to parents, youth workers, and kids on topics of social media, technology, and porn at separate events and workshops over the course of several weeks. The statistics are staggering and the stories are real.
What is my response?
- Talking about it.
- Making the connection between social media – kids – porn – sex trafficking.
- Challenging all who have kids to consider the importance balance of not letting your child fend for themselves in the arena of technology.
- If you’re a parent, engage with your kids.
- Don’t surrender them to those who want to harm your kids. The intent of those who want to sexualize and desensitize your children is brutal. Straight from the mouth of the presenter who told us as bluntly as she could. I believe it. I’ve seen it. It makes your stomach turn.
- Educate and then activate. Below are great resources for parents.
- Talk with your kids.
- Set boundaries.
- Talk with others.
- Talk in groups.
I’ll talk to your parent group, school, church, or mom’s group about these topics. I also am available for parent coaching. Wondering how to balance letting go in some areas and how to hold on in these important areas as your kids grow through adolescence and young adulthood? Preorder Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind.
A Professional and Personal Plea
Please, take these needs of your kids seriously. I’ve worked with kids for a long time. I’m not just an overzealous mom. I’m a counselor who knows real stories. I’m a parent. I know it’s hard. It takes time. Kids don’t like it. I get it.
But your kids want you to set boundaries. They want you to protect them even if they tell you the exact opposite. They are not capable to handle all of this on their own. The mental health of today’s youth is in crisis. The prevalence of porn is now being reported as a health crisis.
Please. Don’t surrender.