For parents, the world of 2013 is an amazing, progressive but often scary place to raise children.
We are in an age like no other, where sharing information about our day-to-day lives, what we’re wearing and even what we’re eating is commonplace, thanks to the Internet and social media sites like Twitter, Snapchat, Vine and Twitter.
It’s hard to keep up — and keep track — with what’s taking place.
And it is especially hard for parents who, unlike their youngsters, are less savvy when it comes to Facebook, Twitter and all various other avenues to share and connect.
That’s why, as parents, it is important to monitor what children are doing on the Internet and aware of just exactly what information they are sharing.
One has to look no further than a case reported last week from the provincial court in Summerside where a Tignish man was sentenced to jail time for luring two teenaged girls via Facebook.
He knew the girls. The girls knew him. And, through private messages on Facebook and later texts to the girls cellphones, he communicated with the girls, 12 years his junior and under the legal age of consent.
He propositioned the girls. And, at one point, he threatened one of the young girls, telling him he would unveil to her family just what she was doing on the Internet, essentially blackmailing her to send him a nude photo. And she did.
It wasn’t until an incident involving the man, where he fondled one of the girls’ breasts, that the situation eventually came to light.
And it wasn’t until then, that these young girls’ parents found out.
That is scary. What happened was scary.
And the potential of what could have happened is even scarier.
While social media is a valuable tool in connecting people from all corners of the world it also has its dark side. Those seeking to lure young people, male or female, have their pick of youngsters, some as young as eight.
Their profiles are there for the world to see, complete with photos, where they go to school, where they live and what they like to do.
The Crown attorney in the case before the court last week said more must be done to educate the public on the perils of social media.
But that education should involve everyone, not just children.
Parents, while it may seem like snooping, check what your children are doing online. Talk to your kids. Check their profiles. Monitor their activity. Teach them what’s appropriate and what’s inappropriate. And educate yourselves.
Be proactive instead of reactive.
It could save your child from harm and even save their life.