We were innocently playing with beads that you can iron and form into different shapes. My kids made characters from a favorite game. I never thought we’d call creatures like creeper and enderman interesting art! In this game, the good and bad guys are easy to pick out. No one likes the bad guys, but they like defeating them.
Then my son heard a “bing” and checked a mobile game we very occasionally let him play. It’s one that has access to group play, but we only encourage adventures with friends. Without our knowledge, he’d joined a group that looked innocent enough, even hopeful to someone from a Christian background. But within a lightning minute, this person he didn’t know asked him where he went to church and more personal details. Thankfully, my son showed us what was happening and we put it to a stop.
It really only takes a second now to disclose some vital piece of information and have a loved one at risk.
But the discussion wouldn’t die. Suddenly, my son’s defending this person, this stranger, as being interested in something good. All the while I’m thinking, it really only takes a second now to disclose some vital piece of information and have a loved one at risk.
When did the generation of “trust but verify,” often quoted by Ronald Reagan, move to “never trust until verified?” This is very sad, but we must teach our kids to be vigilant even with the most innocent of things. Parents need to be up-to-date with what their kids are interested in and not let them wander far afield without extra safety training.
Personal information is traded like baseball cards used to be.
My older son was asking about safety recently, and I gave him this example. Would I let his brother, who’s eight years old, drive us all home? What would happen? A crash, most definitely. But if we don’t teach even our youngest of kids what can happen in a quick moment where personal information is traded like baseball cards used to be, in a semi-public venue, well, in that moment a bit of safety is sold cheaply for entertainment’s sake.
I wanted to share some terrific resources to watch with your children. Don’t assume once is enough. If it takes several times to learn a spelling word, it’s the same for learning to be alert on line.
Another great resource is The Safe Side at http://www.thesafeside.com/. They have super child-friendly videos about internet and personal safety.
A prayer for family safety:
Lord, let us learn to be innocent as doves but shrewd as serpents (Matt. 10:16) in a world ready to poison our sweet children. Help us take every thought and action captive to you, not acting out of fear, but imbuing our children with Godly wisdom. Amen.