The internet can be a great place, there are some FABULOUS resources for kids and adults alike. However many of us (children and carers) may not be aware that there can be risks – or how to approach talking to a child about them.
As parents ourselves, we’ve seen how easy it has become to see well written words about child on-line safety. We’ve even discussed it – although prior to lockdown I could have never foreseen a Zoom call happening without a parent in the room (hello ‘school at home’ – talking about you!).
One personal example is that prior to lockdown, we’d agreed no technology in bedrooms. Then there was that moment where I could see our good intentions about to SLIP AWAY. Our daughter was having a “lockdown chat” with a friend where they wanted to show each other their bedrooms. It was of course very innocent, and I did feel a bit mean saying “no”. But we decided to be strict on our policy of no technology in the bedroom – we decided it was easier not to have it at all – rather than to “take it away” later.
This was “our way”. You will have different “rules”, just as I’m sure we have different approaches to mealtimes, to bedtimes and to tidying up. I don’t think there is a “one size fits all”. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- it’s worth taking some time to consider your child’s on-line safety – take some time to look at some of the tools and videos that have been created to help. Be sure that all the grown-ups in the house are aware, even if you take the “lead”,
- Have a conversation with your child in age appropriate language.
- Let your child know they can ALWAYS tell you about something they’ve seen on-line they didn’t like, and even if it’s “only” a scary crocodile – be sure to take it seriously – you want them to keep coming to you.
Here are a couple of sites that provide guidance:
Think U Know
ThinkuKnow is an education programme from the National Crime Agency.
They have some great guidance for parents and carers: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/jessie-and-friends/
There are 3 short videos (and storybooks) for parents and carers to watch with their child (aimed at 4-7 year olds) https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/jessie-and-friends-videos/
- The first episode is about watching videos
- The second episode is about sharing pictures
- The third episode is about playing games
For carers of 8 – 10 year olds there is Play, Like, Share: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/playlikeshare/
The NSPCC and O2 have teamed up to create Net Aware.
Does it date me if I give a “big shout out” to https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/ which contains ‘reviews’ of the most popular apps, games and social media sites that kids might be using – to help you decide if you want your child to be using it.
They have developed 8 tips for keeping your kids safe online: https://www.net-aware.org.uk/news/8-tips-for-keeping-your-kids-safe-online-during-lockdown/
Here are some of the tips from the NSPCC for talking to your child about on-line safety: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/talking-child-online-safety/
UK Safer Internet Centre
Provides, tips, advice, guides and resources to help keep your child safe online: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers
There is also a selection of resources aimed at 3-11 year olds: https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/young-people/resources-3-11s