Technology isn’t all bad or all good. There are both benefits and risks for your child.
Safety features are important, but they’re not a replacement for open conversations with your child.
Predators can find children online, but you can help protect your kids and equip them to respond.
Prepare your kids for the world instead of trying to manipulate the world to be safe for your kids. Part of life is risk, and part of growing up is learning how to safely manage risk.
Kids may deserve spaces for privacy from their parents, but the internet is not that place. A journal or a phone call can offer safer places for privacy because they can’t go viral the way things shared on technology can.
Test your child’s device and see how easy it is to access inappropriate content.
Research or try games or new technology first before introducing it to your child. And initially, be present or play it with them.
• Can I make ways for my child to engage with technology without them talking to strangers?
• Can I help my child use technology to build skills and knowledge?
• Can I support the use of technology for production rather than consumption?
Especially when raising young children, introduce new apps and technology with more rules. You can dial rules back as your child grows because as they become an adult they have to be able to live without us eventually.
If you need to revoke your child’s access to a specific technology:
1. Tell them why.
2. Ask what they like about that technology.
3. Help them find safer ways to meet that need.
Talk to your child about what to do if they see private parts, get messages from strangers, or see something upsetting online.
Encourage your child to come to you even when they do something they shouldn’t do.
If your teen already has relationships with people they met online, validate that those relationships are real by asking about them the way you would their other friends and connections.
When raising teens, ask them to show you how an app works and validate their expertise.
Tell your child that you are always willing to be the fall guy. They can always blame you if they need an excuse to say no or to get out of a tough situation.
Try to be non-judgmental when listening to your youth. Pay attention to your body, and try to reflect understanding and empathy through your body language as well as your words.
Don’t feel like you need to have all of the answers. If a youth asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to tell them you need to do some research or talk to someone and get back to them.
Name the behavior rather than labeling the youth. For example, a youth is not “stupid” because they made a choice to do something that was risky (e.g., going to meet up with someone from the internet). And even risky behaviors don’t mean that a youth deserves to be victimized or is at fault for what happened to them.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep. No one can promise that a youth will never again experience hurt or violence. Making these promises might help you feel better but they can set up unrealistic expectations for the youth that can cause harm later on.
If you worry a youth has been harmed call a local service provider or law enforcement. It’s not your job to investigate what happened.
This web-based guide keeps it simple, and is designed specifically for you to be able to share directly with youth.
XRPeds, within the department of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine, focuses on the use of extended reality and game technology in applications, interventions, and research with the goal of improving lives and reducing disparities among youth and their families.
ISC teaches how to use technology safely while avoiding dangers. Scott Driscoll, who runs ISC, was in law enforcement and conducted undercover investigations. Scott has been a valuable resource to the Love146 team
Our caregiver resources include a PSA video, as well as a webinar is focused on recognizing red flags, helping youth find a safe adult, tactics traffickers use to groom and recruit children, and steps adults and caregivers can take to address the issue.
Common Sense Media reviews and provides ratings for media and technology with the goal of providing information on their suitability for children.
Thorn for Parents offers age-appropriate discussion guides, conversation starters, and topic overviews so parents can feel more comfortable with these potentially awkward conversations about technology and child exploitation.
The mother of one child in Love146’s Survivor Care wrote us a note saying, “I sleep well now knowing you are now involved in her life. You have something others don’t. I knew it the minute you walked into my home.”
There are caregivers out there who, because of your donations, know their child can receive the support they need after trafficking. If your child was hurt or in trouble, wouldn’t it be important to know that an experienced compassionate social worker was there ready to journey alongside them?
Erin is responsible for leading the development, implementation, and operation of Love146’s US Survivor Care and Prevention Education programs. She has over 20 years of direct service, program management, and applied research experience in social service and criminal justice, with particular expertise in the areas of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. She has a Masters in Public Administration and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Erin also sits on the US Department of Health and Human Services National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children & Youth in the United States.
Asher is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine and practicing pediatric hematologist and oncologist. He is the director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and also serves as the director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer program for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and co-director of XRPeds at Yale. While his clinical research frequently focuses on the care and treatment of pediatric patients with brain tumors, his role as the director of the AYA program has led to the development of a virtual reality-based support group for adolescents and young adults with cancer. In collaboration with Foretell Studios, a clinical trial was launched in the fall of 2019, with pilot data complete and an expanded clinical program forthcoming. This program aims to provide patients unable to attend support groups in-person access to this valuable intervention. Recent publications have focused on topics including racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic survival disparities in adolescents and young adults with brain tumors as well as the clinical application of digital technologies in adolescent and young adult oncology supportive care.