The digital world is changing all the time and being able to keep up to date with your child’s use of technology can be a challenge for many parents, especially if you feel that they may have better technical skills than you.

The internet is an amazing place, opening up a whole world of exciting possibilities where children can learn, play, create and connect. But there can be a darker side and children and young people need support and guidance when it comes to managing their lives online and using the internet positively and safely.

No parent can monitor their children round the clock, and it may be tempting to take the easy way out and block their internet access entirely. However, the internet is a valuable tool, more integral to our modern lives than ever before. As such, it is necessary for children to learn to navigate it safely, particularly when the average age for proficient internet use is now 7!

Whether your child is 5 or 15, what you and your children know about e-safety is important. We all teach our children ‘Stranger Danger’ and sensibly do things like lock our house and we don’t give out details like our address or phone number to just anyone that we meet. But this is exactly what some parents and children are doing on social media and the internet by not securing their profiles or by not considering exactly who they might be communicating with. Children will often chat with their online friends, particularly when playing games against them. However, can you guarantee that their online friend is who they say they are or are they an online predator?

There are numerous websites that offer advice for Parents on the area of e-safety. You know your children and are likely to know when they are e-safety conscious enough to give them the freedom to roam the internet. Until then, the internet is like a drawer of knives or a busy road. Until you are confident that they know how to use and navigate it safely, you need to lead the way.

A Starting Point for Parents

  1. Avoid computers in bedrooms – have them in a family area
  2. Set up parental controls
  3. Monitor Social Media – it’s your child’s digital footprint and their future. This is not spying; it’s keeping them safe.
  4. Set up privacy controls – for them and for you – it’s in your best interests.
  5. Teach them about e-safety

Some Useful Videos to Watch with Your Child

  1. Pre-prep – Not everything is good on the Internet
  2. 5 to 7 year olds – Lee and Kim with Sid the Internet superhero
  3. 8 – 12 year olds – Internet Safety – Newsround Caught in the Web

Some Useful Websites

  1. UK Safer Internet Centre
  2. NSPCCC – Online Safety
  3. Childnet International
  4. Net Aware
  5. Thinkuknow

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