Staying Safe in a Digital World
E-safety (internet safety)
Using the internet is great for young people’s education and development. It makes learning fun, fast and easy. Whatever they’re up to – researching a school project, chatting with friends or playing a game – your children are likely to spend even more time online as they get older. Fortunately there are some simple things you can do to help them surf safely and feel confident about learning online.
How can I help keep my child safe online?
In today’s society, technology plays an important part in the lives of most children and young people. It opens up a world of information, resources and help with homework, connecting to others with similar interests. But how do you give your child or teenager the freedom to explore the online world safely without you peering over their shoulder all the time? And how do you tackle Internet safety where you have children from different age groups in the family? As a parent this is always a tricky line to tread and the following advice outlines some of the things that might be useful to you to get that balance right.
Discuss with your children how they use the internet – after all, you wouldn’t let your child go out without knowing where they are going or who they’re with. The same applies in the online world. Take an interest in what they are doing, ask them about the friends they’re talking to online and get them to show you why they enjoy using the internet so much.
Find the time to look at the controls available on your web browser to protect your family and discuss them with your child. Discuss boundaries without being too heavy handed and always focus on the positives. Encourage your child to understand how to use online sites responsibly, and show them how to participate sensibly and appropriately in online communities such as Club Penguin, and for the teenagers (age 13 ), Myspace, Facebook and Twitter.
You may wish to consider additional technical options to avoid them going onto inappropriate websites, for example filtering and monitoring software to prevent access to unsuitable content.
Make sure your home computer is located somewhere where the whole family can use it. Bear in mind it should be in a place that’s quiet enough to let your children study without distraction. For older children and teenagers, discuss the safe and responsible use of mobile phones, cameras and handheld devices (particularly SMS messaging, online internet access and camera functionality.
Netaware is a parents' guide to the social networks children and young people use. Stay up to date and keep your child safe in todays digital world.
Find out about some of the risks and issues by visiting the Childnet Know It All for Parents resources.
You can also educate yourself about how to use the internet. There are a lot of places to go for help. For example, why not make use of your local public library? They can tell you about simple but useful skills like advanced internet searching which will help you find the right information quickly. You can also enrol on courses or ask your school if they run parent workshops on how to use technology to support learning.