Troublesome Internet Challenges

Posted by Rene Shelton on 2/28/2019 2:00:00 PM

Internet challenges come in several different formats.  Some are fun and harmless; others are troublesome and/or dangerous. This link describes 13 current online challenges your child probably already knows about. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/viral-youtube-challenges-internet-stunts-popular-with-kids

 

Monitor your child’s use of technology. It is important to know what your child is watching and learning. Here is a suggestion to start a conversations with your child about things found online. 

 

Our devices open up a completely different world in our fingertips. Just like in the real world, not everyone is respectful and not everything is safe. I want you to be safe even in the digital world.” 

 

"Sometimes we find things or see things online that are troublesome.  Sometimes others want to show us things that are scary or that we just don't want to see.  If these things happen, look away, walk away, or put the machine away.  You do not have to look.  And, then talk to a trusted adult about what happened."

 

Talk to your child about what they are watching. There are lots of helpful and fun things on the internet to see and learn, and there are a lot of other things, ranging from nonsense and foolishness to scary and/or dangerous.  Include this information in your conversation.

 

“If you see things that are bothersome or scary or you can’t stop thinking about what you saw, talk to a trusted adult. Trusted adults include parents, guardians, teachers, school counselors, nurses, and others.”  Include others you and your child would consider as “trusted.” You may want to identify these individual by name.

 

“If you see a challenge that you might want to try, talk to me (or another trusted adult) first.”

 

If your child is interested in a particular challenge, ask why this challenge appears inviting.

 

“Sometimes we see a lot of people doing things and we want to do it too. Let’s talk about how this challenge would work so we can figure out how well it would work and what the results would be.”  Then have a discussion about all aspects of the challenge, including the fun and what could go wrong.

 

If the challenge includes making their own video, discuss digital footprints and whether this type of video is one that your child would want everyone from now on to be able to see.

 

"If we did this in real life, would you want the entire state of Texas coming to watch? Would you want ____ to see it (i.e., mama, grandpa, your first boyfriend, your wife, your children?"

 

If possible, find a challenge that you and your child are comfortable with and complete it together.  If you video a challenge, be sure everyone in the video is okay with sharing it and the limitations of who might have access to the video. 

 

Model responsible digital citizenship. Children watch what we do and follow our examples.  

 

Set up a family technology plan. This format is very helpful and has been created by a licensed counselor who understands our children’s love of technology.  https://www.yourbestfamily.com/creating-a-family-tech-plan.html

 

Snopes is a website focused on fact-checking and investigation to determine the validity of internet information.  A search for specific challenges, (i.e., Momo) provides the reader with historical and verifiable information.  Please note a link is not here.  If you search of that particular challenge, please due it away from young children, as the manipulated photograph is ghoulish and freightening to children.