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Youth organizations, parents respond to social media challenges

Parents share their thoughts on social media and kids amid a rise in social media challenges.

Posted: Feb 13, 2019 9:23 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2019 6:32 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) For many parents, the cyber world can be a scary place.

"It's definitely something I’m already thinking about," Laura Wyckoff, a parent of four young children said. 

Wyckoff's said her plan, for now, is to keep her kids disconnected.

"My husband and I want to protect our children," Wyckoff said.  "Shelter them from those things as much as possible while they’re young."

There’s a good reason for Wyckoff's reservations as more and more young, impressionable minds are online now than ever before. Now, many kids are being targeted to participate in social media challenges that while enticing at first, can quickly become dangerous.

"It’s just like drugs or alcohol," Angela Reynolds, Youth Alliance. "Kids are curious, they want to experiment."

Local organizations that work with youth stress the importance of education so that they have a better understanding of why certain challenges should be avoided.

"If your kids aren’t educated about something, they’re gonna be more apt to experiment and try it," Reynolds said. 

Those organizations also stress keeping a close eye on kids’ devices.

"They have phones, tablets, and computers," Reynolds said.  "Try to keep a reign on that and know what they’re doing."

As for Wyckoff, she says exposing her kids to social media is far down the road.

"For me right now what I’m thinking is at least high school," Wyckoff said. "Probably freshmen age, maybe."

When the time comes for her children, Wyckoff's hope is that they’re ready.

"Once you kind of open them up to that world, there’s really no going back."

Youth organizations say the proper age to expose children to social media varies for each child. They stress the importance of parents having conversations with their children to determine what time is appropriate for them. 

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