I recommend reading through this post first to learn more about #banourkids and why getting behind this movement is so important.
For those of you that are interested, the original article I wrote that led to this can be viewed here – How we pimp our kids online
As parents we have a responsibility to protect our children and keep them safe from harm until they attain adulthood. We do this in various ways. Laws prevent the sale of alcohol and tobacco to minors, whilst schools and parents educate children about other dangers. Crossing a road, avoiding poisons, strangers in parks offering lollipops, the list is endless.
Were you not to warn your children of these dangers or prevent them from using harmful or addictive substances you would be failing in your duty. The purpose of this site is to hopefully awaken a realisation in parents across the globe that we have failed miserably in protecting our children Online.
We have allowed the wolf in the door and we are complicit in our children’s sexual grooming, exploitation and social abuse online. It’s a nasty, painful and unpleasant truth. None of us likes to admit that we have failed in our duty as parents.
Few of us can claim ignorance as a defence. We spend a large portion of our lives on the same social media platforms frequented by our children. Before we go any further a few of the latest stats on Facebook, courtesy of Statista,com.
So how has Facebook grown since it launched and how many users does it currently boast?
That’s a cool 2414 000 000 as of the second quarter of 2019. Now let’s look at how these figures are broken down by age group.
So, assuming the active users number 2414 000 000 and the age group of “honest” under 17’s is cumulatively 5.9% then it follows that 142 million children under the age of seventeen currently use Facebook. In most territories, unless otherwise specified by law, Facebook requires users to be 13 years of age to register. No checks exist to verify age so it’s safe to assume an additional 5% of the “older” demographic are also children.
That’s rich pickings. A lot of “fresh meat” ripe for grooming if you are so inclined and sadly we have the figures now to show that many are. If it upsets you to hear your child described in such terms, then at the very least this article has achieved something.
Let’s be crystal clear about this. Whilst you are reading this article, pedophiles and child traffickers are actively scouring children’s profiles online, possibly looking at your child’s profile. They are more devious than you or I and mechanisms put in place to protect our children are easily circumvented. Open your life up to the world and the world will come calling.
The solution is simple. Raising the minimum age of social media users to 18 and introducing systems of Age Verification for all accounts. It really is that simple and if we don’t stand together now to pressure companies and governments to enforce this age limit, then we are culpable and accessories to whatever harm befalls our children online.
In one foul swoop the stresses of online bullying, peer pressure, predatory users and a host of other problems will be resolved. We struggle as adults to cope with this alternate life we have created online. Expecting our children to be able somehow to navigate this word is complete insanity and yet, no one does anything.
Facebook and other platforms must be held to account, forced to act responsibly and in the best interests of its users. Governments must do what they have been put in office to do, namely protecting their people. Neither will act of their own accord, the onus rests with you and I to force change. For the sakes of our children and theirs.
The head needs to come of the beast before it overwhelms us completely.
If you’d like to support the #banourkids project, please follow this blog, share the articles and spread the word. The goal is to petition UNICEF and individual companies and governments once numbers have reached critical mass.
Thank you, on behalf of our children.