Keeping Kids Safe Online
Keeping our children safe is the most important thing, and it’s even more imperative in this digital age. There are dangers everywhere and for everyone, from young kids just starting to make use of the internet, to teenagers who can’t seem to step away from social media apps. There’s no getting away from technology, and we shouldn’t want to, but as parents it’s up to us to ensure that our children are protected whenever they go online.
Here are some tips:
- Don’t automatically assume all use of technology is negative.
However it’s portrayed in the media, technology is an integral part of our everyday lives and can be a very good thing. Once children know how to navigate the risks, there’s a whole world of socialising and learning to find out there. Try to embrace new developments and treat them with a positive light.
- Demonstrate how to use technology safely.
Although most preteens and teenagers will protest they don’t need your help because they already know it all, it’s important to check that they really know how to do things like checking their privacy settings on web browsers and social media profiles. Talk to them about the possible consequences of having a bad digital footprint, and how to avoid them.
- Know what they’re doing online.
It’s hard to monitor without invading privacy, especially when it comes to teenagers, but parents should make an effort to become engaged in what their kids are doing on their phones, tablets and laptops. Find out which apps they’re using, and make sure they understand how to access help if it’s needed.
- Give them options to get help.
As a teenager or older child, sometimes it’s difficult to speak to your parents about things that are bothering you. But just like knowing to call 999 in an emergency, they should know what to do if they encounter serious problems. From speaking to other trusted family members or teachers, to using organisations such as Childline, NSPCC or Digital Awareness UK, there are plenty of options available.
- Look at your own usage, especially in front of younger children.
The younger your child is, the more likely they are to copy everything you do, but the same applies to older children as well. Encouraging them to step away from their devices is much easier if you do the same on a regular basis.