Online Resource Helps Parents Talk to Kids about Digital Safety

Online Resource Helps Parents Talk to Kids about Digital Safety

Thorn, a technology non-profit dedicated to defending children from online sexual exploitation, launched Thorn for Parents to help parents have earlier, more frequent and judgment-free conversations with kids about digital safety.

The need for these conversations is more critical than ever as kids grow up online, which impacts how they experience transformational phases like puberty and what normative sexual exploration looks like. Thorn’s research shows that digital safety conversations need to start much younger than parents might think, between the ages of seven and nine. Thorn for Parents includes resources, discussion guides, and recommended timelines to help parents address these serious issues in an approachable, digestible, and supportive way.

“Kids are growing up online and digital safety is a huge issue. Thorn for Parents will guide parents through these essential conversations by offering topics, conversation starters, timelines and more,” said Thorn Co-Founder Ashton Kutcher. “Developmental behaviours coupled with constant connectivity can be dangerous. We have to educate our kids to keep them safe.”

Thorn spent the past three years understanding how kids themselves feel about these issues and what motivates their online behaviors. Thorn developed Thorn for Parents after surveying thousands of youth and parents, and identifying several important findings that all caregivers need to know:

“As a mom, I know firsthand how awkward and uncomfortable these conversations can be, but the reality is that kids are engaging in these behaviors earlier than we ever thought and these conversations need to happen now,” said Thorn CEO Julie Cordua. “Thorn has spent the past three years researching what motivates kids’ behaviours online and how they feel about these sticky situations. These findings inspired Thorn for Parents so that together with parents, we can greatly reduce the potential harm and risk of sexual exploitation kids face online.”

Thorn for Parents was developed using the latest data to inform the most effective approaches and in consultation with external experts, such as child psychologists, NGO partners, and social workers, to move the needle on this critical and urgent need. Content will be optimized by age range, so parents and caregivers have access to content that is age-appropriate. Initially, Thorn for Parents will offer content for parents with children ages seven to 12. Additional content for expanded age ranges, additional topics and supplemental guides will also be released at a later date.

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