FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — A social media post is gaining traction about how parents need to delete and block their children from using a certain app in order to protect them.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and Founder of the National Child Protection Task Force, Kevin Metcalf, who is also a father of four, said when parents randomly restrict apps like Snapchat from teens without having an open trusting relationship, unintended consequences can result.
He said one of those being the existence of secondary devices unknown to parents, which can be extremely dangerous.
“Making your child delete it from his or her phone and blocking them from downloading it, that’s going to be about as effective as saying that since you’re on a diet we’re going to eliminate sugar from your diet by keeping you from eating snickers,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf said when parents restrict apps like Snapchat from their child they create a bigger wedge in their relationship.
“There’s a lack of trust, there’s a lack of communication, and there’s a lack of openness,” he said. “That’s where those predators are going to thrive.”
Brittney Val Stone, a local mother of three, said she disagrees.
Recently she shared the post above on social media.
Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, I mean even this Tiktok is getting to where it’s outrageous.Brittney Val Stone, Local Mother of Three
Even though her kids aren’t old enough to have phones yet, Stone said she has seen first hand the dangers of apps like Snapchat.
She said two of her nieces were caught messaging people they had no idea who they were, so when her kids do get a phone, she’s setting restrictions.
Metcalf said he agrees with her on controlling apps and exposure when it comes to younger kids.
“If they wanted a certain app, I’ve already explained to them I will be going in there and I will be checking in to make sure nothing bad is happening,” she said.
Both Stone and Metcalf can agree the best thing you can do to protect your kids is to have an honest open relationship
“There has to be a flow of trust but it has to go both ways,” Metcalf said. “They’ve got to know that you’re there to support them and back them up even when they screw up.”
“This day and age, a lot of kids can just be doing whatever they want and if parents don’t pay attention to it and actually see it, they’re going to get hurt,” Stone said.
Metcalf said his responses were geared at the “average teen” and their relationship with parents.
“There are going to be variations and situations where parents need to control, but don’t think that should be the general advise,” he said. “Predators can use any app.”