Children were asked what their parents didn’t know about what they do on the internet and you might be surprised by some of the revelations…
In the modern world it’s pretty hard to ignore the Internet and children are now savvier than ever when it comes to navigating their way around the World Wide Web. Knowing how to keep kids safe online can be a tricky problem to crack.
One teacher in America, Skipper Coates, asked her students to finish the sentence: ‘What my parents don’t know about social media is…’
Her students were incredibly honest and so she decided to submit their responses to Love What Matters.
Skipper explained: ‘Working in a Junior High is really interesting. I see these little people in their most awkward and most emotional stage of life. I teach them science, but when I have time I try to squeeze in some life lessons and mentoring.
‘But it doesn’t work if I’m not willing to really hear and understand their situations and problems. Lately, I’ve been really concerned about their mental health, bullying, and social media use.’
Speaking about the responses she received from the 85 ninth-graders (aged 14-15), Skipper said: ‘You guys. The answers were SICKENING. Heartbreaking. Depressing.’
Out of the 85 students, only five said they didn’t have an account. Skipper explains that her pupils are ‘good kids’ but many of the confessions reveal that the children are doing things they know they are not supposed to.
One wrote: ‘I talk to people I’m not supposed to and I have an Instagram when I’m not supposed to.’
Another said: ‘I have a secret rant account. I talk about my mental health. I also have Internet friends.’
Around 70 of the kids admitted to have some form of social media secret that their parents didn’t know about. This ranged from how long they spend on their accounts, to having ‘secret’ friends and accounts.
Several of the children spoke about the problem of online bullying and how they use social media to express their emotions.
The two things that Skipper took from the session were that we need to acknowledge how much kids know about technology and we need to talk to them more.
Skipper said: ‘No more talking about the dangers of social media. Just start talking. Period. These kids are looking for emotional outlets…for people who will not judge them when they make mistakes.
‘We need to put down our own phones long enough to build face-to-face relationships so our kids don’t need to seek validation from peers and strangers.’
Are you worried about what your children do online? Do you have any tips for other parents on how you speak about it with them? Let us know in the comments below.