Three Things This Week
1. Teens Fight Back
What it is: Meme accounts on Instagram, many of which are run by teens, are spamming certain hashtags to thwart child p*rnographers’ efforts to reach more people.
2. Danger on Discord
What it is: Free messenger apps are increasingly being used by terrorist groups like ISIS to disseminate info and recruit new members.
Why it’s concerning: In the past, terrorist orgs have tried to set up websites and use platforms like Tumblr, but they kept being hacked or shut down, so they’ve begun turning to smaller, less well known, and less regulated apps like Telegram, RocketChat, Viber, and gamer-specific Discord. Of course, the chances are slim that your kids will ever be contacted by ISIS or another terrorist cell, but they’re not the only predators on these apps, and all of them capitalize on users’ lack of awareness, young ages, and hesitancy to tell others about something questionable. Have you created an environment where your kids feel safe enough to talk with you if something strange or threatening comes through one of their apps? Our Parent’s Guide to Discord can help.
3. Live Listen
What it is: ICYMI, Apple has a feature called “Live Listen” that allows you to use your iPhone or iPad like a microphone and your AirPods as the receiver.
Why it can be creepy: It only works with iOS 12 and AirPods (other headphones don’t work) and was designed to turn AirPods into hearing aids by magnifying sound. But as this Instagram post (may have to log in) shows , it can be used to spy on someone in another room without them knowing. All they have to do is leave their phone in the room with Live Listen activated and walk away. Two things: 1. Please don’t use this against your kids. As tempting as it might be, good relationships are built on trust, not secrecy and control. And 2. If your kids have the ability to use the feature, have a conversation with them about why you won’t use the feature on them and how you hope they’ll show others the same courtesy.
Did you know we also create in-depth Parent Guides on a weekly basis to aid you as you disciple teenagers? We’ll be featuring one each week in the new section below in order to better serve you! Let us know what you think.
Parent Guide Spotlight: As Billboard’s Artist of the Year for 2018 and Spotify’s most-streamed artist in 2018, Drake has massive influence, not just on culture, but also on music lovers. Our brand new Parent’s Guide to Drake will help you better understand him and his influence so you can disciple teenagers to be thoughtful and intentional about who and what they listen to.
The Humans Trafficked In Our Homes
Today, January 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day and the entire month of January is dedicated to raising awareness to end modern slavery. Today’s slavery is radically different from the Atlantic slave trade that brought millions of Africans to work the plantations of the antebellum South. Present-day slaves are mostly women, young girls, and even boys coerced into commercial sexual exploitation. Experts believe as many as 4.5 million people are currently trapped in sex slavery. The average annual profit from a woman forced into sexual slavery is $100,000, meaning this black market is a lucrative business.
While this all sounds horrible, you may be wondering just how it touches your family. If pornography is being consumed in your home—which, sadly, is likely; of the most-visited websites in the US, numbers 6, 7, and 8 are all porn sites, beating out eBay, Instagram, and Twitter—then in very real ways that act is aiding and enabling the sex slave trade. Porn and sex trafficking go hand in hand: 49% of women rescued from the industry said pornography was made of them while they were in bondage. Here’s a disturbing, yet informative video on the inextricable link between porn and trafficking.
So what can your family do? First, have honest conversations about the porn pandemic. There are no innocent users. The industry is filled with victims and perpetrators, and viewers become complicit, fueling supply and demand. Second, harness your child’s passion for social justice by raising awareness online or by starting a trafficking club at their high school. Third, get involved with local or national groups actively engaged in the fight to end modern slavery. Here’s a great list to choose from! Finally, check out our three-part Parent’s Guide to Pornography detailing how porn appeals to and impacts both boys and girls.
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