RVA Parenting: Parenting in a world of digital dangers for kids

RVA Parenting: Parenting in a world of digital dangers for kids

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With the amount of content constantly increasing, many parents struggle to manage what their children consume online. And there’s a heightened awareness after recent reports about a cartoon telling kids to harm themselves.

That particular case ended up being a hoax, but it left parents wondering what kids are watching.

One parents shared screen grabs of what concerned him - images of people dead and hurt. He says the results came up after a child searched “riddles for kids." The video has millions of views.

A social media expert says parents should treat the internet like a playground.

“When you take your children to the playground, you look around for predators,” said Marcy Williams. "You look in the sandbox and make sure there’s no glass. You look for sticks. You make sure that the slide is not too hot.”

Williams says don’t just hand your kid a device - you have to watch. And constantly check for changes. Previous firewalls may not work, back-doors may exist and content may have changed.

And keep talking to your kids.

“Hey, maybe as a parent let me show you my social media," said Williams. "Let me show you what I’m doing; let’s look at this together. ‘Oh wow, this is really cool. This is great. Oh no, this is an example of a bad app.’ Let’s do it together.”

She says age will influence the message.

Consult your pediatrician. But with little kids, you may be able to keep it as simple as warning children by saying “it can hurt you” or “I don’t want strangers to do anything to you."

With older kids, open the conversation up more. Tell them how to tell you if they see a problem.

Williams says that although some places online promise safe content, that’s not always the case.

Hackers could always attack a safe site. So take proactive steps, but always keep a watchful eye.

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