If you don’t know where to start to keep your kids safe online, then you’re not alone. Unfortunately there is no magic solution to help you out. A user manual would be nice but would probably be out of date before you get past the first chapter. The good news is that there are three simple things that you can do right away. You can start the conversation, do some research, and just get stuck in…
The important thing is that it becomes a normal part of life to be talking with your children about what they are doing online, i.e. what is fun, what can go wrong and how they would cope with it. Just as in real life, talk to them about what is okay and not okay to do online. Encourage them to look after their friends. Get them to show you how to do something. Kids love being smarter than grown-ups. We have some ideas below for conversation starters. Start the conversation now. Don’t wait until there is a problem.
What should you do if your child comes to you asking to set up a social media or messaging account or to play a specific game online? Often peer pressure is a motive but on the other hand, saying no may be counterproductive if they go behind your back and then won’t come to you if there is a problem. Whatever your decision, be informed. Research the app or game. Follow our Facebook page for regular guidance on risks and safety settings etc, and check out websites such as Webwise, Childnet or Commonsensemedia.
If you do decide to allow your child to use a particular app or game, then make sure that you get involved. You could agree that you download and set it up together, making the most of any privacy settings etc. Agree basic ground rules, e.g. not accepting friend requests from strangers and always keep an eye on what they are doing and saying online. Make it clear they can always come to you if anything makes them upset or worried. Download and print our Family Agreement to help you agree and remind the family of the rules for using the Internet.
Make sure to check out our new short video for parents – Simple Steps that you can take that can make all the difference