Guest Post via @wmjackson: Social Media and Parents – Use Caution During the Holidays

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Social Media and Parents – Use Caution During the Holidays

Holiday seasons open the doors to online engagement and interaction by youth, teens and young adults. The opportunity to “hook up,” “meetup,” and “shack up” during the holidays is accented by using Social Media to make those initial connections.

The growth of social sites is allowing behaviors to expand
that can cause serious consequences in the future for youth,
teens and young adults.

The dating ritual is now digitized to where relationships
are arranged around impersonal environments that stretch
the imagination and expectations of those looking for love
or sex online.

The names of dating sites are indications of what to expect
and the desires of those not looking for long relationships,
they are seeking temporary pleasures that trample traditional
relationships that lead to stable behaviors of dating and
marriage. Sex is the goal, not relationships.

The holiday season brings new cautions for parents in
monitoring their children, boys and girls and the potential
to engage in relationships that can damage even young adults emotionally and mentally. Looking for something that
is not as easily gained if a stable relationship is not developed.

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As I have blogged before that SM by teens and young adults
are their primary means of sharing information and posting
personal content. Parents should be prepared for the increase
in digital connections over the holidays when school is out.
Parents cannot allow Social Media to be a babysitter for their
children just as television should not be a substitute for parental
engagement and teaching social skills.

The access to dating sites is fairly easy to engage in because
many youth and teens lie about their backgrounds or have older
family member’s set up accounts for them thinking it is funny or cute. This is far from the truth and very dangerous in multiple areas of developing healthy relationships.

Sites like TickMe allow middle and high school age youth and teens to finding out if someone likes them without the embarrassing risks of public rejection. Youth that are shy can even be active on Social Media by sites like Shy Passions for introverts that want to be active in dating, but looking for those of similar interests and social engagements.

The reality and dangers of social media can be seen on sites like
Flirt On where youth, teens and young adults can experiment
with their sexuality in Meetups. This experimentation can potentially
open doors to emotional and psychological manipulation in relationships that can damage the natural growth of youth and teens in selecting a stable mate or partner in life. I’m not judging or condemning these sites, but encouraging caution for parents to talk to their children about them.

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Parents may find it difficult to start a conversation about the
use of technology and Social Media, but these conversations are important so parents can see where their children are mentally, spiritually, and psychologically. The holidays are for family gatherings, spending time with friends and reinforcing healthy relationships. It has become a time for caution as well because of the potential for digital dangers. Looking at the controversy
of Ashley Madison and the hack that happened, the large scope
of the event has shown the dangers of personal digital
information on these sites:
Jack Mirkinson, 2015 “The terrifying unanswered questions of
the Ashley Madison hack,” Quote:”we have decided that the
pleasures and conveniences of technology far outweigh the risks
inherent in handing over vast quantities of private information
to mostly unaccountable entities.”

When the hack happened , it reverberated across the
Internet, not just nationally, but internationally. The
potential dissemination  of names, email addresses, and
account information on a site that  was setup as a “dating site,”
but turned out to be much more where adultery was the goal and
the flavor of those looking for encounters.

Parents can never say, “my kid knows better, (he/she) would
never do that,” because kids are doing it. Parents cannot laugh
off the fact that access to these sites are a clear and digitally
present danger.  They challenge the morals, ethics and even
spiritually that parents are trying to raise their children by
standards of humanity. Other sites were affected, stolen were
millions of users personal information,  it was not reported
how many were potentially under 18 years of age, but
indications are that underage sex could have been offered
on those sites. Ashley Madison is just one site of hundreds
if not thousands globally.

Resources:
Hollywoodlife.cm
http://hollywoodlife.com/2015/08/19/josh-duggar-cheating-wish-list-ashley-madison-affair/
Links to Email Accounts
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3204050/REPORT-Josh-Duggar-paid-1-000-multiple-Ashley-Madison-accounts-search-oral-sex-one-night-stands-sex-toy-experimentation-more.html

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Social Media: Parents vs. Teens
Parents should spend more time with their kids and teens,
direct parental contact is important and contact not through
the Internet or cell phones.
Communication is being lost between parents and their
children, talking is being done through digital devices.
Children and teens will post personal information online
faster than thinking that they should not. Talking can save
your child’s life and keep dangerous situations from
happening.

If ISIS or other terrorists can reach out from far off countries
and recruit youth, teens and young adults here in the United
States easily using Social Media, how easy do you think it is
to entice teens and young adults who are willing to experiment
sexually with virtually no risk of being caught, but have no
clue of the long lasting effects of multiple partners, mental manipulations, sexual deviant behaviors and even emotional and spiritual consequences in the future? Parents must check
Social Media access by their youth, teens and young adults
before a knock on the door by law enforcement or a stranger.

Message to Parents Video: 8 minutes

Resources:
Top Ten Social Media Sites:
http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-social-buzz/the-top-ten-best-dating-sites-in-social-media/
Are Ashley Madison users at risk of blackmail?
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/08/19/are-ashley-madison-users-at-risk-of-blackmail.html
Resources from the Federal Bureau of Investigations Protecting Children
History
https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/overview-and-history
Preventing Images and National Initiative
https://www2.fbi.gov/publications/innocent.htm
Victim Assistance from Child Porn
https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/victim_assistance/overview/child-pornography-victim-assistance
Department of Justice on Child Porn
http://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/child-pornography

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