So, I recently found out about an account called Libs of Tik Tok. I am not researching this group, I refuse to watch their videos, and I do not want their bullshit in my ear, so I am not ACTUALLY talking to them when I write this post. But I am speaking to those of you who are parents, about how to keep your kid’s internet safe, based on my very real, internet experience.
My experience with the internet is from the late 90s, so the internet was JUST starting to grow and not every single person I knew had a computer – or the internet – at home.
The #LBGTQ2S+ Community and The Universe That Pedophiles Live in Is Not The Same, But That Won’t Stop People Who Hate Us From Pretending Otherwise.
I’ve learned a lot on the internet, but not one of the times that I used chatrooms, was I ever talking to other kids. Almost always from the time I was 13, until the time I was about 19 or so when I stopped using the internet for awhile, I was talking to adults.
Almost all of the sites I used were roleplaying websites – and when I say roleplaying, I mean Angels, Vampires, Demons, and Witches, however, there were a lot of BDSM and sex roleplay chatrooms that I had access to, and I’ll admit those got boring fast.
Especially as roleplaying helped me develop my style as a storyteller, and especially as I realized that “sex chats,” had to be interesting, I didn’t want to hear about all the things he/she/they/them were going to do to my body because they couldn’t touch me, I wanted to have real conversations about real things.
I learned through online chats that Egypt is more city than Pyramid, I learned that China has a diverse population of people from all over the world and that Indian folks can be born Chinese, and this was at a time when that wasn’t really public knowledge because we as countries didn’t exchange information the way we do now.
If Your Kid Has A Phone, Tablet, Computer, Television, or Library, They Are Learning About Sex. Your Job Is To Ensure They Don’t Feel Ashamed By What They Are Learning By Fostering Healthy Conversations about Sexuality.
I can promise you passwords won’t mean shit if your kid wants to access the internet and the world of sex.
My mom had my brother re-set the password on the computer more than 200 times, and every single time – EVERY SINGLE TIME – I figured out the password and got my much-coveted internet time because it was the only time that I got to talk to people about topics that interested me.
The only reason that I didn’t become a verified hacker, is because I got bored of the same fucking conversations with the same gross adults, every day. “A/S/L – What do your tits look like?” Yawn. So I went outside and made real friends. For what it mattered.
The first time that a President was elected, while millions of people were on the internet at the same time, was George Bush Jr. I remember the day before, talking with all the adults from Texas to LA who were excited to vote and how excited they were to vote against Bush.
The next day when he won, I was a teenager-year-old when I asked what the fuck happened, and no one in a chatroom of about 60 or so, wanted to talk about it. I will never forget that, it was a huge lesson in what it means when people talk about how they want to vote, vs how they actually vote, in America.
I had to fight to get my private internet time, and that’s largely because my mom wasn’t as stupid as I pretended, she knew I was talking about sex, but she wasn’t willing to answer questions that I might have had and I certainly wasn’t going to ask. Learning from strangers online seemed like the safest option.
(Before you ask none of my rapists were men I met online, they were all men I knew in North Delta or Surrey BC or Calgary.)
Screen time is a really great time for parents and guardians to decompress, but I just sort of feel like if you stick your kid in front of a video game, or a television show for twelve hours, you probably don’t get to complain when they start having questions about what they see or experience.
As a person without kids, it’s really easy for me to judge, but as a person with some experience, there are ways to protect your kid, and that only, ONLY, works, if you’re going to put aside your own needs and be more involved with your kid.
Yes, pedophiles are on every single website on the planet, you can’t help that, but what you can do is ensure what information your kids know to give you and what to keep to themselves, so that they will remain safe.
- Post photos AFTER you’ve left the location that you’re taking the photos on
- Turn your fucking location off, at all times unless in an emergency
- NEVER EVER EVER post photos of your children, or use their names. They have a right to privacy, and especially when they’re little it may be cute and adorable to track their progress but that’s why so many RESPONSIBLE parents keep private friends and family only Instagram accounts.
- Check your search history and make it impossible to delete without a password that ONLY you or your partner have access to.
- Make sure you check in with your kids and be willing to talk to them openly without shaming them.
- Some of the stuff they ask is going to be funny, laugh with them, and let them know it’s okay to laugh about sex and gender identity. Let them know it’s okay to laugh about growing up. Being human is fucking weird, in general.
Not every conversation about growing up needs to be stressful and exhausting, you’re allowed to laugh at the stupid shit your kids say, and you’re only allowed to laugh because that was probably you when you were their age, make sure they know that.
If you’re uncomfortable explain why. It’s a huge burden for adults to be expected to have all the right answers, that’s something a lot of youth don’t understand, we do not have all the answers. BUT we can help you find them by going to a local organization or community center or library, and that “going with my kid to help them understand their evolutionary changes,” can be a really cool adventure.
It can also – shock among shock – create a healthier more self-loving adult, than if you behave otherwise.
The world hasn’t changed since we were kids, it’s exactly the same. War, poverty, racism, suffering communities, marginalized women, and marginalized humans, in general, have always existed, and they may always exist, but at least for the ones in YOUR house, you have the opportunity to create a safe space where they can speak to you honestly about what they’re going through.
You can’t be your kid’s friend all the time, I get that, but you don’t have to send them into the world being more afraid to be themselves than they already do.
Telling them that the rainbow flag is about them too, can really make a kid feel like they are seen and heard, even if they never talk to you about what that flag means to them. But PLEASE let’s stop pretending that being #LGTBQ2S+ is worse than being a racist or a hater of humanity just because OUR version of humans looks different than what you grew up with.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall