One of the most challenging jobs a parent has is being a parent…
There are so many things a child must be taught these days. There are far more things to protect them from…like child predators. With social media access at an all time high, parents sometimes feel they have to take extreme measures to protect their children from what could potentially be harmful to them. Not being honest about their age is one.
Recently, a father found out his 10 year old daughter was being less that honest about her age to attract older boys online. He discovered she had been telling them she was 14, 15, 16, & even 18 years old. You would think a 10 year old could not pass for a teen of those ages, right? However, Janiya, stands an astonishing 5’9″ tall. So, it’s easier for her to pass with the right hairstyle and clothing. Speaking of hair and clothes, these are the elements her dad used in order to teach her a very public lesson about acting her own age. In the pictures below, you can see that her dad dressed her in a hot pink t-shirt that has been air brushed saying, “I am 10 years old.” On the back, it reads, “5th grader.” He also made her wear a cute little pink princess backpack, paired with a head full of ponytails wrapped in balls and bows.
I guess it’s safe to say that the boyfriend she tricked into thinking she was 18 now gets the picture and truth that she is only a 10 year old 5th grader. Although she does not look the least bit happy about how her dad chose to address this situation, she may come to appreciate it later, and know that he may have saved her life.
Could now be the time to talk to her about sex? I believe so. She needs to understand the dangers of the situation she put herself in. She needs to know that there are guys out there who prey on young girls like her. She needs to know how to carry herself so that she does not fall victim to sexual events she is not prepared for. One tiny mistake can easily lead to a lifetime of regrets, or even worse, the ending of a life.
True, Janiya placed herself in harms way by not being honest about her age. Dad may have went overboard in the eyes of some who see this. In all of this, let us not forget about the young man on the other end who was under the impression that he was speaking with a girl his own age. If things went too far, he could very well have landed in a lot of trouble of his own.
As a youth mentor and mother, I am concerned in all perspectives of this story. Here we have a young girl who is seeking attention of older boys online, a dad who took the power of social media into his own hands to teach his daughter a valuable lesson that may have saved her life, and a young boy who could have gotten in lots of trouble due to the lack of someone else telling the truth about their age.
Working with the youth allows me to get up close and very personal with the biggest issues facing our children these days. If you have a youth group, organization or school event that is in need of a speaker to come in and help with some of the challenges our youth are facing, book me. I would love to help make a difference in the lives of your young people.