Each psychological and sexual abuse is perpetuated against innocent children not only in the physical real world but also in the virtual world of the internet when people connect online.
Youngsters have a natural instinct to look to adults for guidance, support and help as they grow up in a bewildering challenging world where they are bombarded by images, videos, messages, and contacts on social media.
The deluge of advertisements can also be disturbing since it leads children into harmful dependency on junk food and growing obese because of internet and TV advertising.
Bullying On Social Media
The greatest danger to children comes from adults and teenagers behind the screens, lurking in the internet and social media platforms like Facebook. There are the teenagers who bully other children over Facebook, teasing and shaming them. Some children are even driven to suicide because of this online abuse. Parents have to challenge and confront these bullies and bring them to court.
Many pedophiles looking for personal sexual satisfaction seek to contact children and lure them into relationships through social media. This hurts and harms the children.
In years past children had to be protected from strangers in the community, porn magazines and postcards. Today teachers, community workers, parents and guardians must know and understand that electronic gadgets are not harmless toys.
These are advanced communication tools that contain dangerous images, videos, games, messages and audios. They can be used to bring children to search and find dangerous content by connecting to websites and blogs on the internet promoting child or adult sexual abuse, games that portray violence, killing and murder as acceptable fun and games.
Drug sellers offer dangerous drugs for sale. Adults posing as teenagers invite secret relationships with the youth. Then there are the extremists who peddle their political views and cults that invite and attract young people, then brainwash them to get their allegiance.
All these dangerous lures are sent directly to the child’s smart phone or tablet if it is not properly configured to block such content. Parents and guardians have to protect their children from these serious traps and temptations.
They must take a strong stand with their children to have a technician set the phone or computer to safe mode to block such content. But that is only the first step. The child can still get that dangerous access on a friend’s gadget or in a computer shop.
A close trusting caring relationship between parents and children is the most important protection. Direct talking and teaching moral values to children from an early age is essential. They will be morally smart and committed to know and do what is right and avoid wrong.
Their respect for their parents must be based on the good example and morally upright life of their parents. It’s when parents fight and break-up that a child also breaks up and deteriorates which leads to loneliness and despair making them turn to the internet to find friends. Most frequently the so-called friends they meet are really enemies out to exploit and abuse the children.
The young, especially if they are in anyway lacking parental affection, are lonely, victims of bullying at school and seeking friends, are the most vulnerable because they go surfing online.
There they can send messages to someone asking, “Can I be your friend?” They are then invited to chat and share information about themselves.
This can be the start of a seduction process led by the other “friend” that might lead to a full-blown abusive relationship. Parents have to monitor their children’s use of internet and mobiles to detect warning signs and act swiftly.
With trusting, caring, understanding relationships with their children from early childhood, parents can prevent online abuse if children will allow their elders to access their gadgets.
If the parents have a trusting open relationship with each other, their children will not be excluded or feel uncared for and unloved. Loneliness is the beginning of online grooming and abuse of children. The good loving example of parents is what forms the personality and character of the child which will keep them safe and internet smart.