Children & Technology: The power of your child’s future in the palm of their hands

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Being successful in business involves three things: long hours, travel, and home-life balance. In today’s world, it also means hyper vigilance of how our children use technology. Cell phones are super computers that allow us to keep tabs on our loved ones, but can also give our children access to a virtual quagmire of potential criminal trouble. 

Whether it is innocent distribution of nude photos or videos, cyberbullying, texting while driving, or catfishing—technology requires constant awareness of how and when your children are online.

What’s the solution? Parental controls? Limitations on internet access? The fear of God? These are certainly viable short-term solutions, but perhaps the best one is having tough conversations about the power of these devices. The wrong text, video, or social media post can derail a child’s life. It can also expose them to becoming the victim of predators. If you are going to give a child access to these devices, one that can literally shape their future in the palm of their hands, it has to be paired with parental responsibility and education.

Areas to Watch

  Classroom apps that allow peer-to-peer or peer-to-teacher sharing of photos, texts and videos

  Dating apps—swiping left or right is a huge red flag

  Social media apps and friend lists (including Messenger). Be mindful of “extra” profiles registered to the child’s app  

  Snapchat or apps that promote encrypted communication or advertise deletion of messages (nothing is ever completely deleted)

  Forum communication apps that allow large group communication

  Browser search histories 

  Banking apps and financial activity you install and use on your mobile devices

  Fake profiles that your child may be using

  Video gaming apps and consoles that allow private messaging

  Home entertainment devices that access the internet

Monitoring

If you give your child a mobile device that has access to the internet, whether a phone, laptop, or tablet, then you should strongly consider monitoring technology or software that allows location tracking, usage, and calls and messaging. These security mechanisms are not expensive, but are highly effective in monitoring your child’s usage.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Franz Borghardt owns the Borghardt Law Firm and practices criminal defense in federal, state and municipal courts. He is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College and the Trial Lawyers College. He is immediate past president of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, has been selected multiple times to Super Lawyers Rising Stars, and has been named a 2020 Louisiana Super Lawyer. He is also Martindale Hubbell AV rated. He has taught seminars and published articles on criminal law topics, cell phone search and seizure, jury selection, and social media. He previously taught criminal litigation at the Paul M. Hebert LSU Law Center.

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