Be honest, if someone were to ask you, do you control your mobile phone, or does it control you? It’s quite possible, you would say, you have control over your phone. Most people think that. Of course, in reality the phone has possibly total control over you. Consider this, if the amount of stress a person feels, can be directly related, to how in control they feel about their life. Then how much of an impact is digital technology having, if it is controlling you or more importantly your children !!
As with any new technology that comes along, there are always going to be those out there who will attempt to use it for illicit financial gain. Last nights RTE Prime Time featured SEXTORTION, a topic many people may not have been aware of. Sextortion according to Wikipedia “refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion”. The more appropriate term is Online Sexual Exploitation.
From speaking to children, we have witnessed a huge increase in the amount who are viewing T.V. and Movie content which is unsuitable for them. Almost all of the children are telling us, they have seen the content either on YouTube or Netflix. Children in National Schools have reported how they have been unable to sleep at night, or had disturbing dreams as a direct result of something they had seen on a digital device.
A new study published by the Internet Watch Foundation, has revealed that 98% of victims of Live Streaming, Online Child Exploitation were under 13 years of age. Live streaming allows a user to broadcast live footage of themselves online. This is a feature of many popular social media platforms. The results of the new study, makes for seriously harrowing reading. It is hard to imagine that young people are live streaming themselves being sexually exploited online.
For parents, getting a child to comprehend the concept of an online stranger, can be a difficult task. Children have no yardstick to measure this by. Sometimes the efforts of parents to teach this message, can be unsuccessful. Just by telling a child, not to accept a stranger as a friend, or follower when online, generally will not work.
Students at Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, recently discovered in a study, that two out of every three people in the school, had received a sexualized image, or had been asked for one. The results led students to launch their own Sexting awareness campaign. Sexting is an obvious source of concern for the parents of young teens. It can also be a big problem for teens themselves. Imagine how difficult it must be, to exist in an online environment, where all of your own friends, followers and peers are exchanging sexualized images.
Every now and again, we may try to Detox our bodies, by eating healthier, exercising and generally just taking better care of ourselves. In doing so, we begin to feel better, as we release the toxins build up in our system. Some are inspired to take a step towards a detox after an overindulgence on a Holiday, or after Christmas.
Today we would like to discuss, how harmful it can be for children to share inappropriate images of themselves, with others when using their devices. Incredibly we have found that children in Irish Primary Schools in 5th and 6th class, are very aware of this behaviour. What some children can believe is a just a funny image or photo of themselves, can have really serious long negative effects if shared with others.
What is Sexting ?
This video is aimed at young children to teach them what can happen if they were to take or share an inappropriate image and how quick it can spread
This is a series of videos aimed at teens
This series of videos are aimed at parents who discover an image of their child has been shared
This week, it was revealed that Blennerville National School, near Tralee in Co Kerry, agreed with parents in the school, that it was time to put a ban on digital device access for students. There had been a number of incidents revolving around the access and sharing of inappropriate content and Cyberbullying. The ban on devices at home, is an 11-week pilot programme. What we would describe as a Digital Detox, only for the children in sixth class. This decision is similar to one we have been promoting in National Schools for some time now that children should never be given a ‘Smartphone’. We had been anxiously waiting to see a community who would come together and formulate a plan such as this in Ireland. A first step on this path has been publicly taken by a school and parents. We would hope that all parents would look with great interest upon it, and follow-up and try this themselves.