Parents are far too trusting.
Before you write me off as some overprotective, paranoid parent just hear me out.
- The average age of a child's first exposer to pornography is 11 years old
- Out of the kids that have been exposed to pornography, when asked why they looked 35% gave the reason "because I was with a friend that wanted to"
- 1 in 5 youth received a sexual solicitation over the internet in the last year
- 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are a victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18
- Children are the most vulnerable between the ages of 8 - 12 years old.
So before my kids go over to any friend’s house (whether it be for a play date or a sleepover) here is what has to happen:
- I have to meet the parents face-to-face and have at least 2 pretty lengthy just "get to know" you type conversations. Then I pray about it and I ask the Holy Spirit for confirmation either way. And If I don't have a good feeling about it or the slightest bit of hesitancy then it doesn't happen.
- Before the scheduled play date or sleepover I am sure to ask the parents the following questions:
- Do you have any firearms in your house? If yes, then how are they stored?
- What kind of internet protection do you have?
- What type of electronics do your kids have access to and how are they monitored?
- Will my child ever be alone at any time?
- Who will be at your house while my child is there?
- My child is not allowed to be driven by any adult that has consumed any alcohol, no matter the amount. And really I would prefer for you not to drink at all while my child is in your care.
- Please have my child call me (if your child doesn't have a phone already) before bed and when they wake up in the morning.
If I sound a little harsh it is because this is a big deal! If you don't already do this as a parent, it is imperative that you start NOW! Do not let another play date or sleepover go by without asking some tough, but important questions.
If you already do this, what other questions or situations are you sure to talk about with other parents? These can change based off of the age of the child, so be sure to leave the age range that your question applies to in the comments below.