I still remember it like it was yesterday, riding our bikes down those dusty roads in our small town as we enjoyed the simplicity of childhood. We had no cares or worries, just the drive to enjoy life and the freedom of being a kid. Even our parents didn’t worry much about child protection. Life was simple, good, and safe—or at least safer than it is today.
There are concerns now that weren’t concerns then, at least not to the same extent. Parents need to be aware of that and help their children see dangers in advance. So here are 5 threats kids face today that we never had to worry about.
1. The Saturation of Media and Technology
Most of our children don’t know of a pre-iPhone world. And while this comes with advantages, it comes with even more concerns. Never before have kids spent as much time in front of screens or had as much access to the entire world at their fingertips. Consequently, the threats this creates range from laziness, to obesity, to worldview implications, to low self-esteem.
2. The Relational Challenges Associated with Social Media
“Parents need to decide carefully if, when, and how they will allow their children to participate in social media.”
Parents need to decide carefully if, when, and how they will allow their children to participate in social media. While it can be a fun way to build better relationships, it also can be a trap for young people, drawing them into unhealthy habits of drama, poor self-image, the need for approval from others, cyberbullying, and many other threats.
3. The Ease of Access to Pornography
Growing up, we might have had a few inappropriate pictures hidden under our mattresses, but porn isn’t hidden today. Soft porn is flaunted as socially acceptable and hard-core porn is more accessible than ever. The average child’s first exposure to porn happens between 8 and 11 years old. We must take this seriously and put protective measures in place. This threat hit close to home for us recently, as one of our boys picked up someone else’s device and inadvertently was exposed to pornography.
4. The Harsh Realities of Child Sex Abuse and Sex Trafficking
Statistics tell us that one in five children will experience some form of sexual abuse, and in 90 percent of those cases, the child knows the abuser. “Stranger Danger” is no longer the greatest threat when it comes to child abuse. Parents must be proactive rather than passive, even with family and friends. They must have sensitive conversations about what is and is not appropriate touch as well as about the dangers of sex trafficking.
5. The Attitude of Entitlement
Most of us had to work hard for what we have. And if we got in trouble growing up, our parents allowed us to face the consequences rather than rescuing us or blaming our authorities. We were expected to be dependable, responsible, and respectful. However, one of the great threats to kids today is the mindset that the world owes them something. A recent survey of school counselors said “entitlement mentality” is one of the top five problems young people have today.
With these threats and others facing our children, what is a parent to do? Be proactive. Purposefully talk with your children about these issues and the threats they pose. And most importantly, pray for God’s guidance to wisely navigate these threats that your children are sure to face.