Beacon of Hope: Helping Children Be Safe on the Internet

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Helping Children Be Safe on the Internet

by Paula Thomas

I love technology—especially since I can FaceTime my grandchildren, shop online, and Google things that I don’t know about. There are many positives of having the internet. However, it scares me that children are on the internet so much during the day and even well into the night. There is so much stuff on there. Do we really know what our children are watching? Have you ever asked yourself that question?

I realize that the internet is our way of communicating with our loved ones and friends. It is also needed for school and all, especially now with the pandemic. Even I do my classes online. But the question remains, “Do you know what your children are watching while they are on the iPad or computer?

Let me give you some things to think about. I recently came across a study done by Enough-Is-Enough (2019):

“40% of children in grades 4-8 reported they connected or chatted online with a stranger. Of these 40%, 53% revealed their phone number to a stranger, 21% spoke by phone to a stranger, 15% tried to meet with a stranger, 11% met a stranger in their own home, the stranger’s home, a park, mall or restaurant, 30% texted a stranger from their phone, and 6% revealed their home address.”

Here are some warning signs to look out for with your children.

  • Too much time online during the day or late at night

  • Pictures taking up a lot of space on their computer

  • Unusual charges on your credit card

  • The computer screen quickly changes when you walk in the room

  • Your child becomes very secretive and defensive

As a grandmother this is very troubling to me. I want my grandchildren to be safe. Our children are a gift from God, and we are responsible for protecting them.

In Ephesians 6:11-14 states “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

We all need to realize that parents are the First Line of Defense. The battle is for the hearts and minds of our children, to keep them safe.

Here are some safety rules for your children.

  • In the case of iPads make sure you are able to see what they are doing.

  • There should be no face-to-face meetings with anyone they don’t know.

  • Be careful about what online photos are posted.

  • Keep the computer in a public area of your house.

  • Never let them give out personal information.

  • Have online rules with your children.

  • Limit instant messaging

  • Disallow chat rooms.

I know that we all have busy lives, but let’s take the time to monitor what our children are doing. Remember, it takes no effort to leave an imprint on the life of a child – good or bad. Once imprinted, it is very difficult to change it. Our responsibility is to keep them safe!

About the Author

Paula Thomas, BMCH is a Wife, Mother of 9, and grandmother of 11. Paula is a Deans List graduate from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Social Work, (BSW) and is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach. With over 40+ years of personal and business experience Paula has a wealth of knowledge and lessons learned to share. During her career Paula has worked for Christian Homes for Children, Agape Family Center, Christian Life Center, and Thomas Kids Klub Day Care. Paula has extensive experience working with parents and children. Paula works with individuals, parenting groups, or parents and children together. Every relationship is different, and Paula will help the parents or caregiver to enhance their current home life and communication to create a more peaceful living environment for everyone involved.

Over the years, Paula has been involved in volunteering in multiple Youth and Kids Ministries and helping out at Chosen 300 providing meals on a weekly basis and ministering to those in need. As a mother and grandmother Paula has a strong understanding of children. As an Advocate for Children, Paula will help ensure the children she works with receive the attention and understanding they need in order to grow and believe in themselves. Children need to have someone who is willing to listen and help them communicate what they are thinking, feeling, seeing, and living through.

It is our belief that children need a stable environment to grow and someone who can help them navigate and understand various situations they come across.

Connect with Paula at her website, Lina’s Lighthouse. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can read Paula’s Beacon of Hope column on the third Monday each month here at the magazine.

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