And maybe a little terrified?
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Here are the three things you need to do first:
The 'pre-phone' time is critical.
(But if done right, it can be magical...)
Imagine your child 2 years from now...
They've had a phone this whole time and you have had zero chats about what they have seen or experienced. If they have encountered confusing things or dangerous things, who do you imagine they could talk to? Would it be you?
Where would they go first?
(If you follow these steps, you will be able to answer that question with confidence.)
The time before they get the phone
is a magical window for conversation.
It is infinitely easier to create boundaries, set expectations, and begin one of the most important ongoing conversations you are ever going to have with your child before you give them a phone.
Once they have it, and experience the full freedom to scroll wherever & whenever they want, the toothpaste is already out of the tube, and it’s near impossible to go back to any time before they had no (or less) boundaries.
(It’s almost an understatement.)
But before they have a phone?
They are highly engaged listeners and almost “partners” to whatever boundaries need to be set. It’s a critical and actually wonderful time to begin a conversation that you will have with them ongoing as they continue to grow up.
“Yikes. That’s happening now. So what do I do?”
Even more so –
It’s up to us to know when to teach them about certain dangers.
If you have never talked to your kids about pornography, it won’t wait.
Here are two (maybe unexpected) facts:
• The average age of a child first seeing pornography in the U.S. is 11 years old.
(and that number trends toward younger each year).
• Many kids’ first exposure to porn is on what would be traditionally thought of as a “safe” app like Spotify or Amazon.
Want to know why people compare getting your first phone to getting the keys to a car?
With both, it only takes seconds and you are in a new world of freedom and danger.
Except - remember the preparation & learning it takes to learn to drive?
(Driver’s Ed Class / Driving lessons / A learner’s permit / A big test at the DMV)
- But the dangers are just as large and just as real:
They are a few clicks away from:
☑️ Pornography (soft, hardcore, violent, etc.)
☑️ Meeting up with strangers they met online
☑️ Receiving unsolicited explicit images
And the catch is -
Most kids don’t know how to open up a conversation about this stuff because of shame, embarrassment, or fear.
“Yeah, I know my kid. This is not an easy chat to have,” you may be thinking.
Well, there’s a hack to jump-start the conversation & keep it going…
“Put it on you? What are you talking about?”
Starting the conversation is hard. Keeping it going is even harder. But...
Ever Accountable is (scientifically-backed) software that helps the whole family avoid porn and other dangers online.
It’s as simple as it gets - but it’s not like other apps...
It’s not another parental control device.
Ever Accountable actually builds the relationship between you and your child (and even technology) - all using the power of transparency & accountability.
You offer a collaboration between you and your child.
You explain that one of the first apps you will download to the new device is a safety app that helps keep them safe from porn and other dangers on the internet.
(Easy enough, right?)
Every week a transparency report comes in confirming that everything is going well, or if there’s anything suspicious going on.
It provides a perfect check-in opportunity for you and your child to talk through how they are feeling about their new found freedoms and what they are encountering in the vast, exciting (and potentially terrifying) world online.
Sound like a good habit to start?
(We thought so too.)
If this doesn’t sound like a fit for you, we would recommend it’s absolutely critical that you have regular talks with your child about their phone and their online experiences. It may in all honesty save their life, their marriage, their future relationships.
The reason we have found this so useful is that it gives parents a reason or an event (even better because it’s not initiated by you!) to take these regular opportunities to chat. Which can be so hard to just try and create out of thin air with your teenager.
By the way...
The thought experiment at the top of this page was the exact reason we created Ever Accountable.
We wanted to provide parents with security for their families + the confidence to create space for real-life, conversations with their kids.
It seems obvious to say, but...
But what’s more:
It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to check in with them every week as they mature and grow into a world of unprecedented technology.
You want to give your children the skills they need to handle problems on their own, and build enough trust, so they’ll know they can come to you with anything bigger. Having a weekly conversation opens this door.
Ever Accountable is ready to help you secure your children's safety online.