Can You Monitor Kids’ Social Media?
By Officer Gomez
Parents who think they can monitor their kids’ social media are like thinking they can beat a professional basketball player one-on-one. Kids are actual professionals at social media and parents are not. Kids have coaches and technical support teams (other kids) that advise them every day. Parents have their work group or friends of three or four people who share what they think they know about kids and social media.
One of my main concerns with kids being on social media is their ability to talk to strangers. Omegle has a slogan of “Talk to Strangers.” It has been around for a while and is not an application any child should be on.
Omegle does not have a sign-up requirement so you can be talking to strangers in a matter of seconds by clicking two checkboxes verifying you are 18 and will abide by their terms of service.
Once connected, Omegle connects you with a random person in the world by video, audio, and chat. If you don’t like the connection, you select “next” and it takes you to the next random person in the world. If people were decent, this would actually be a great exploratory program to discover other people in the world and learn a great deal about other cultures. Unfortunately, that’s not what happens.
As you click next on Omegle, what you find pretty quickly is that there are many people on there who are naked and want to talk to you live. As you click through there are multiple x-rated scenes. Equally as disturbing are the chat screens that had groups of young girls (middle school) who were watching together and clicking “next” to go to the next person. I can only imagine the scenes they were experiencing on this platform.
Because there is no sign up, Omegle users are very anonymous and there is no way for police to track them if needed.
Think your child would not watch or use Omegle? It’s one of the popular “shock” applications kids like to show each other at school. Middle schoolers in particular love to show their friends what is on there. So, your child is in danger of seeing absolute craziness even without having a phone.
Some applications such as Snapchat have the potential and often do change your child forever. I highly recommend no Snapchat before 18. TikTok, Instagram, Telegram, and other applications will brainwash your children.
Snapchat and Telegram are currently the top drug dealing applications. Did you know kids can log into Snapchat on their school issued Chromebooks? If you want to test your child’s Chromebook, go to the website now.gg and see if it comes up.
Want a second test? From Google Maps type in “Milk Island” and check out the many videos under pictures. Milk Island allows kids to see TikTok videos and more without monitoring software catching on. In the reviews and photos, people post videos that are sometimes inappropriate. Google deletes inappropriate videos about once a week, but they always come back.
Here is a list of the most addicting apps you need to be careful of.
SNAPCHAT is by far the most popular for its ability to hide things from parents. Even if you are friends with them with your own Snapchat account you can be muted to only see what they want you to see. Parents have no idea how much mental manipulation happens here.
TIKTOK is the up-and-coming brainwashing machine. Many trends are being started and guided by older men so your kids will be easier victims. It is common to see innocent videos posted by 12-year-old girls showing 20k – 100k likes by random users.
INSTAGRAM is also on the list because parents think they understand this app better than others. Conversations, pictures, and accounts can easily be hidden from parents; it’s called vanishing mode. Here’s how to use it:
Open a one-on-one chat window with someone on your friend list. Swipe up from the center of the screen to enter vanish mode. Note that any messages, pictures, or videos sent in vanish mode will vanish after they have been viewed. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward way to know if your child has been using it.
FORTNIGHT will still get your kids very addicted. I have been to more than a few 911 calls where kids melt down when they have to stop playing this game. Many a parent has felt hostage in their own house to this game.
Unfortunately, installing monitoring software to keep up with kids’ social media is equivalent to thinking that buying a new pair of basketball shoes will allow you to beat a pro player. You are not going to win by putting on a pair of shoes.
If your kid has a smart phone, I highly recommend monitoring software as a way to help control technological issues. I am just advising that software alone will not stop most kids. I see way too many parents who over-rely on software to patrol their kids’ online life. The only way parents will win this game is by taking children out of their pro-environment and spending non-screen time with them. Parents are the leaders of their family and should spend time teaching values and ethics to their children, so apps don’t.