Like it or not our children are going to spend time online. Homework is often online or demands the use of online resources. Our children will play online at various games. They will most probably have a social life online and through social networks. They may well upload and download music and photographs and youtube will inevitably be part of their leisure /learning life. They may have their own website or youtube channel.
How wonderful it is they have all these opportunities to step out into the big wide world without ever leaving their bedroom but oh, how scary it can be for us, their parents. How very vulnerable they are.
We need to make sure along with access comes a sense of responsibility.
Here are 5 of my top tips for keeping kids safe online
- We most definitely need to tell our children keep your location private or they are leaving themselves wide open to being stalked/bothered or worse. There is also the potential for your home being burgled. If a stranger knows where they live and they announce they are off on holiday how easy it is for your home to be targetted. The worldwide web does not need to know a child’s geographical location.
- Use parental filters – these stop children seeing content that is not aged appropriate, it is not absolutely perfect but it does block a huge amount of inappropriate content being seen by your kids. Talk to your home internet provider about this and they will point you in the right direction.
- Use the internet in a public part of the house. Kids should only use the internet where you can easily walk past and see what they are up too. It is not something to be used away from adult eyes as it requires supervision. Keep laptops for the kitchen table.
- Keep talking about online life. Make this a permissible subject and let them know they can always talk to you about anything uncomfortable they come across or stumble into without you getting angry. You want to keep communication open so you can support their online use.
- Do tell them ‘don’t talk to strangers’…this is as important online as it is in real life. You have no idea who is hiding behind that computer screen and it is really important you children understand this rule applies at all times.
Please do add any of your own tips in the comments section below and let’s share what we know to keep our children just as safe as we can.