Today is National Safer Internet day, and here are a few tips to help keep your child safe online:
- Be free to talk regularly to your child.
Find out how they use the internet and how they interact with the technology, how they express themselves online, and how they feel when they are on the internet, particularly using social media.
- Help them to explore differences
The internet is full of diverse people trying to communicate with your child. It is the first place, for some children, where they see and communicate with people who are different to themselves, but also it is a place where they can see people similar or the same as themselves. Explore the diversities that they will encounter with them and have discussions about the differences that they may come across, i.e. Ethnic differences or physical differences. Explain about being respectful to everyone they see or communicate with online and on the other side of the coin, help them express their feelings and fears if they feel they are being shown any disrespect online.
- Make the internet work for your family
There are many tools and software to help you keep your family safe online.
For example learn how to use parental controls on devices, which can safeguard your child from seeing things that are inappropriate.
- Get involved with your child’s activities online.
The internet is not all bad and your child can have fun and explore a wealth of exciting things. They will find tools to experiment with their identity, like characters in games they play or emojis or post contents. Spend time with your child looking at how they interact with others online, teach them about the positive and negative aspects of communicating and data sharing on the internet, teaching them to make safe choices when being online.
- Seek help and support.
Sometimes, as adults, not born to the ‘online’ age, it can seem very dauting to try and help your child be safe online when you don’t know the pitfalls yourself. Many parents & carers will feel like this, but with the right software tools, as mentioned above, and contacting the many support groups out there like Childnet’s ‘need help’ page as an example. You can learn how to support your child online using features like privacy settings, and parental controls. Most importantly, you will not know everything but by interacting with your child online you will discover a safer internet together.