When she was only eight years old, she saw ads online that were not geared toward kids, not knowing any better.
“Then, when I was 11, there was this anonymous app where you could post things on it,” Sophie recalls.
“So, I posted some things, and adult men would message me, and then I would send inappropriate pictures back to them. At the time, I had no idea that was weird. I had unlimited screen time, and my parents never looked through what I was doing.”
Sophie further explains that when she recently talked to her parents about her unlimited internet access as a kid, they told her they didn’t look through her browsing history or devices because they trusted her to make smart choices online. However, that nonrestrictive method did not work, and she still saw things she shouldn’t have seen.
As Sophie became a teenager, she had a massive internet following without her parents ever knowing.
She was chatting with adults of all ages because her parents or school had never taught her internet safety.
Now, Sophie worries for the upcoming generation of kids who are very reliant on smart devices and the internet, as, like her, they will likely find ways to see things they shouldn’t be seeing or put themselves in danger.
As Sophie got older, she learned more and more about the consequences of her actions online and is now telling a cautionary tale.
“It just scares me so much,” she says.
“If you’re a parent, you need to be checking your kids’ phones. It doesn’t matter how much you trust them, and they’re going to be mad. They’re going to be mad at you, but you need to teach them.”
Sophie says a good rule of thumb for parents to tell their kids about their online activity is, “If you don’t want me, as a parent, to see it, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”