An important note – this podcast episode is around the heavy topic of social media and the prevalence of sexual predators. There is content on the show that people may find disturbing. Though it’s important to have these conversations with your kids, we recommend listening on your own first.
Social media isn’t going away. And children are being exposed to online life earlier and earlier. Before you think, “well this doesn’t apply to me, my kid isn’t on SnapChat or Instagram” we talked with Roo Powell, founder of SOSA, Safe from Online Sex Abuse, a non-profit that raises awareness and combats the pervasiveness of online sex abuse and exploitation, and she warned us that even coloring apps have chat functions that can be a risk.
Roo is a mom, writer, advocate, and leads a new docuseries, Undercover Underage, released this month on Discovery+. I’ll be honest. It was hard to watch. In the show, Roo is transformed into a teenage girl and we watch the onslaught of adult men preying on her character. In my mind, I knew this sort of abuse existed, but to watch it play out is horrifying.
Social Media During a Pandemic
Penn and I talked to Roo this week, particularly to learn how living in this new reality of COVID has changed things in the online world for kids and teens. I was SHOCKED to learn that the percentage increase that predators have been trolling over the past year and half has increased 100%. Roo walks us through some tips on how to have open lines of communication with your kids and common words and tactics that online predators use to lure kids in.
The number one thing that Roo wants kids and teens to know is that it is never, NEVER your fault. So if this has happened to you, it is not your fault and it’s okay to talk to someone that you trust.
To learn more about the work that SOSA is doing and ways you can support this important work, visit their website at: sosatogether.org. You can stream Undercover Underage (rated TV-14) on Discovery+. I watched the first episodes by myself to preview the content, but I will definitely be watching again with my teenager.