School is out for lots of students which means, more free time on their hands. There are also more young people on the internet during those long summer days.
But, after an incident in Wisconsin over the weekend, there are new warnings to parents about monitoring what website their kids are visiting.
“Kids are very influenced by the internet,” says Sara Broers. Broers is a Social Media Consultant and mother of two. She knows how much the internet can affect how kids think, which is why she says its important parents play an active role in their kids internet usage.
“When we give our kids the tools that they need and show them how to use them, they’re not going to be necessarily looking for ways to use them. And we all know when kids start looking a lot of times it’s not the best,” explains Broers.
This advice coming at the heels of a disturbing attack in Wisconsin. Two middle schoolers are accused of stabbing a classmate on Saturday after a sleepover.
Police say they had an interest in a site which features a fictitious character called the “Slender Man.”
According to the complaint, the girls told police they needed to kill a person in order to show their dedication to the Slender Man.
“It could be the case of parents or teachers not monitoring or knowing what their kids are doing and where they’re going online. Because it’s a creepy place online at times and kids seem to find the creepiest place,” says Broers.
“You know it’s a complete wide open world there,” says Phil Biermann.
He is also a parent, Biermann says his kids are right around the age where they’re starting to show interest in the internet.
He says he’s doing everything he can to filter which sites they’re visiting, but says there’s no perfect fix.
“I really don’t think there’s one out there that can totally filter everything if you’re trying to be real strict but at least there’s something there so you have a little bit of that safety there,” says Biermann.
That’s why Broers believes parents need to do more than just filter the internet.
“If you know your kids are on a social media platform that you’ve never heard of, it’s probably a good thing for you to sign up for that website and find out what your kids are getting in to,” she adds.