This article is a fascinating read both for recognizing TODAY’S social media dangers and learning what is being done by Microsoft and Google to prevent child exploitation today and tomorrow.
The first point I want to make is :
THIS PREDATOR OBTAINED THE PHOTO FROM THE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE: KIK
This is a site where literally OVER 1.4 MILLION KIDS “HOOK UP.” Predators know that.
Here in Riverside we have recently had more than one case where a child was lured in by a predator through KIK. Sometimes they meet on a random video chat room called OMEGLE (whose by line is “Talking with Strangers“) and then agree to hook up through KIK. PARENTS NEED TO KNOW THIS.
Kik allows a teen to build a pseudo-relationship with a predator where they are easily groomed and recruited during what they believe to be a true friendship. Without education and training most 14 yr olds at first believe it is harmless flirting and they are flattered by the interactions. They won’t allow themselves to see the dangers and will almost never disclose to the parent the interaction. They feel entitled to their privacy and, while the parent is laying out rules like “clean up your room and you are grounded,” the predator is embellishing their importance and sense of being loved. This is taking place in the home, in the school, at the dinner table right in front of mom and dad.
Recently, I became blatantly aware of just how great the “e-chasm” is between parent and child. Think of this. Your child (or grandchild) has never NOT known the internet. That means they function in a world exclusive of you, the parent. This often empowers the child with a sense of entitlement to secrecy and emboldens them to operate autonomously in their own private world. We believe that kids will explore, experiment and hook up in a way they would never consider if they were being monitored by an adult, especially a parent.
Parents are still functioning in a parental mode of “Because I am the PARENT THAT’S WHY… AND BECAUSE I SAID NO.” However, there is a SERIOUS e-chasm of knowledge. The parent has little life experience to understand the universe the child is operating in. The first and most serious issue is that parents are greatly uninformed about the various websites and online gaming and the value and dangers that each site can pose to a young person.
Million Kids is in the process of developing a program with Dr. Andy Doan and his wife, Julie, called “The End Game, a Battle for Your Child’s Soul”. One of the products being developed is called, “Techno Whiz Mom” & “Techno Whiz Dad.” This activity is being researched and developed along with Lori Godsil, Calvary Chapel Beaumont, David (Life- Art Institute), Jim Hague (web developer), Maegan Bourlett (product developer – Community Christian Church Hemet), Susie Carpenter (Social Media Director MK), Cheryl Ekard (Temecula and the De Spains – Franciscans/Catholic Church) and others are joining in. David Stewart, LMFT, will be assisting with addiction program related to these issues.
TECHNO WHIZ MOM – TECHNO WHIZ DAD…. (order your t-shirt now or sell some – email me)
These programs will be designed as a grass roots movements to equip and engage advocates across the nation to train moms (and dads), but especially MOMs about the various social media and online gaming programs and then hook them up to our Facebook to continue updating the information. It is much more than an internet safety program. It is a program to EMPOWER moms and dads to recognize, understand and learn to communicate effectively with teens about internet exploitation tactics.
MOMS MUST BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE AND UNDERSTAND THESE PROGRAMS IF WE ARE GOING TO BE ABLE TO EDUCATE OUR KIDS ABOUT THE DANGERS!!!!!!!
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!
If you can donate to this program, it will be the best use of your money ever. Go to Million Kids website and click on the donate button. It is that simple.
If you can help us raise funds, please let us know. We are open to many ideas.
If you can become an advocate leader to begin to train others once we get the products developed. Let us know. This is an URGENT PROJECT.
Now, back to this article.
The good news is that Microsoft and Google are starting to understand that while they can bring the world much good by way of information that in all things good, they can also be abused. I commend them for taking responsibility.
There is a counter argument about invasion of privacy. I get it. I do! I value my privacy as much, perhaps more than most. But anyone who thinks that anything posted on the internet is private, needs mental health counseling!
Remember it is called the “WORLD WIDE WEB!”
The world of technology is changing every day and at a faster rate than ever before in history. Technology helps us educate for good and helps us find and rescue kids in ways we never could before. But it is hard to stay ahead of the predator because for all the good it does, the world of technology is literally a “Buffet for a Predator.” It is the reality of the world we live.
The work of Million Kids must be about educating parents and teens about how to stay safe from being recruited into a life of exploitation and sex trafficking.
Parents are starting from WAY BEHIND. Many are techno phobics. Some oblivious, others are scared and even others believe they are not capable of understanding. The “End Game” program is designed to wake up parents and empower them that they are capable of learning about these programs. They don’t have to know all about using all the websites, apps or online games, but they DO need to be able to recognize when their child is using them and be able to discuss the programs with their kids with open dialogue to explore the good and protect against exploitation.
I hope you will consider today about supporting this important work. In the meantime, if you see your child or grandchild on KIK or OMEGLE, contact us for discussion of the situation and we will help you find constructive ways to help keep your family safe.
WE LOVE YOU ALL AND THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS FIGHT POSSIBLE!