There’s a new pandemic sweeping over the nation. It’s not THAT pandemic, yet it’s just as important for parents to be on guard. What is it, you ask?
We’re talking about the “Not My Kid” pandemic that has crept into many homes across the country.
It starts with the simple thought, “I have a good kid. They would never do anything bad online”, and the roots take hold. Over time, it infiltrates a family dynamic, pushing kids and parents further apart.
Jeff, our CEO, started scrolling through his Instagram reels. Suddenly, a vulgar reel popped into his feed. Shocked by what he was seeing, he paused in horror before scrolling away. A few videos later, another reel with mature sexual content came into his feed. The same shock and horror stopped his scroll for a few moments. Within a few days, the majority of his feed was overwhelmed with explicit reels Instagram was actively pushing to him.
The answer is simple.
Instagram (and most social media platforms) want to keep users on the app, so it pushes out reels and posts planned to hook the viewer. The algorithm tracks how long they stay on the video or post (in technical terms, it’s called dwell time). The longer the dwell time, the more it signals the algorithm to keep putting that content in front of the user.
That’s what happened to Jeff.
Instagram captured him with the shock and horror of an explicit video to stop his scroll.
After that, the algorithm took over and he couldn’t escape.
Now, we get it. Your first thought is probably to rip away your kid’s smartphone and deactivate all their social media accounts. Yet, this doesn’t solve anything, especially if this has already happened to your kid.
It’s comforting to assume our kids know enough to avoid coming across mature content online. While we grew up in a world where sexual content had to be sought out, that no longer exists for our kids.
It’s not a question anymore of IF but WHEN.
Take Jeff’s story. He wasn’t seeking out those reels; they were actively pushed in front of him. All it took was a few moments of shock until he was pulled into a vulgar corner of Instagram.
If it happened to him, it could definitely happen to your kid.
Wait, what? Wouldn’t that kid need the least guidance?
It’s tempting to think that but EVERY kid in your family needs to be part of the conversation.
This is why it’s vital to include the “good kid” in the conversation.
Social media pushes explicit content to their feed for the first time. Naturally, their shock and horror stops their scroll and the algorithm kicks into high gear. Suddenly, they find themselves trapped like Jeff.
What happens if they don’t explicitly know you’ll give judgement-free guidance?
Instead of finding comfort with you, they feel they have to hide. Shame builds barriers and eats away at their mental health.
What could’ve prevented this?
Open conversations with EVERYONE in the family.
Assuming your kid would never find harmful content online doesn’t help them. In fact, it could hurt them. Let’s take thoughtful approach to parenting in a world filled with technology and toss this idea out. It’s time to be proactive by preparing your kids and having open conversations with them repeatedly.
What if you could be the first person they turn to instead of the last one?
Tired of feeling in the dark? Want a phone that shows you EVERYTHING your kid does?
You need the Aqua One.