BCA Family Life Ministries, Special Parent Forum: Helping our Kids Navigate the Online World. July 13, 2018, 7:00pm-9:00pm.
Last year Brittney and I were surprised by a $299 charge from Amazon on our monthly bank statement. Now, we’ve purchased some pretty amazing stuff from Amazon in the past, and we have even spent more than that on a single transaction, but this one was unexpected. So we did a little digging.
After speaking with an incredibly helpful Amazon rep, (did you can actually speak to someone at Amazon if you try hard enough?) we discovered that our son had been looking to purchase the then popular Pokémon GO app, but clicked on a knock-off version that someone was using Amazon to take advantage of unsuspecting customers… to the tune of $299! The worst part: that after asking him why in the world he would make any purchase on Amazon (let alone at that price), he reminded me that he did ask me before he purchased it.
“Dad, can I buy Pokémon GO? It’s only $2.99…”
“$2.99? Sure, go for it!”
Somehow, two decimal places made all the difference to this parent caught unaware. I couldn’t help but think, “Do people really get away with this?! What if I hadn’t paid attention… after not initially paying attention?” While Amazon refunded our money and promised to go after this bogus company, it definitely taught us a lesson.
It’s time to start paying more attention to what our kids are doing online.
At that point, my kids – like so many others – had unrestricted access to the internet.
- According to a June 2014 survey, 37% of 3 and 4 year-olds receive open access to their parent’s tablets and smart phones, as well as 87% of 5 to 7 year-olds.
- According to Dr. Tim Elmore’s 2015, Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in the Digital Age, “youth now spend the time equivalent to a full-time job with technology every day.”
- A 2012 McAfee.com study says that 71% of teens have admitted to hiding what they do online from their parents (including clearing their browsing history, minimizing a browser when parents are in view, deleting inappropriate videos, lying about behavior, and using a phone instead of a computer).
- Kids are blocking parents with social media privacy settings, using private browsing, disabling parent controls, and having email or social media accounts unknown to parents (Covenant Eyes, 2015).
What are they doing? What are they hiding? What kind of media are they consuming? Who are they interacting with?
It doesn’t look like this “internet thing” is going away anytime soon, so we need the tools to be able to help our kids navigate it in a way that honors their commitment to Jesus—with him being at the center of their lives. We must PROTECT them as children and PREPARE them for adulthood. 1 Chronicles 12.32 tells us that the men of Issachar “had an understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…”
As parents, we should know what to do, too.
Join us on Friday night, July 13 at 7:00pm in the Chapel for a special BCA Family Life Ministries Parent Forum: Helping Our Kids Navigate the Online World. Our Family Life team wants to help you ask the right questions and bring awareness to popular apps, trends and behaviors. We want to help you create a resource list of tools available to you so that your efforts won’t be hindered by those who don’t have your children’s best interest in mind when it comes to the online world. Come prepared to share what you’re doing as a parent to help protect your kids, and hear what other parents are doing, too.