Today is Safer Internet Day.
Here are some online safety suggestions for parents of young children.
Technically children under the age of 13 shouldn’t be building profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat etc. This is difficult, as many of their friends may already have profiles. Some sites allow for children aged 13-17 to have profile’s under their parent’s consent. When your children are old enough to access social media, take time to sit with them and go through privacy settings, explaining who can see what they publish.
Though you need to be teaching your children about password safety, and encouraging them not to share passwords with their friends, you also need to let them know that you can and will have access to their equipment and that you need to have access to their password, even if you don’t memorise it. This means that you can go in and oversee their online behaviours, with their permission.
Messaging and Group Chat:
Make sure that you check in with your child regularly about their group chats, who is taking part in them, and make sure that they are only talking to people that they know in real life. Ask them to show you some of the conversations so that you can get a feel for what’s going on in the chats. Keeping an open dialogue will help to maintain the trust between you and your children, and will ensure that your child will feel that they can come and talk to you if something is worrying them online.
Lots of children enjoy gaming on their video games and on the internet. You need to know what is going on in their online play, in the same way as you do in their face-to-face relationships. Sit with them whilst they are engaged in their games, and ask them about what is happening. Build up an interest in their game playing, and again, you will open that dialogue to engage with your child if they feel things are worrying them.
The most important thing you can do, is talk to your child! Engage in their interests and find out what they are up to. Talk the talk, and they will feel confident to talk to you, if things are troubling them online!