We wanted to take a moment and address an issue that periodically rears up: are we careful to engage with and share online information responsibly as adults and are we as parents careful about what our children interact with online?
The Internet can be used beneficially, but there is also plenty of inappropriate and disturbing content available; it's our responsibility as parents to do our best to prevent our kids from engaging with this content. Most sites and browsers have varying levels of parental controls you can set to safeguard against this material. Simply search for how to activate parental blocks on your preferred browser, or on a specific site. Those aren't perfect methods, but they're a great place to start. You can also monitor your children's devices, especially younger children, so you know what they were watching or doing. App stores allow you block the download of or use of certain apps so your kids can't download an app that may be more susceptible to inappropriate content. And lastly, it's worth pointing out that limiting screen time limits the possibility of their exposure. There's no sidebar of ads on a book, just saying.
And as parents, it is tempting to share an emotionally charged Facebook post about a potential threat, thinking, "But what if it is true and I help spread the warning?" Ironically and unfortunately, shock stories only gain a degree of legitimacy when they're shared by the masses and go viral, which causes news sources to report on the story, thus continuing the cycle. So before we share posts, let's verify that the content we spread is worth spreading.