As a parent of a pre teen girl, there is nothing more worrying than her safety. As much as I worry about her staying safe outside in the big wide world, there are even more reasons to be cautious when she is indoors and online. You hear horror stories everyday about terrible things that happen online from cyber-bullying to grooming, and with using the internet becoming more and more of a necessity for our children, especially with school work how can we ensure we are doing the very best in keeping our children safe online? There are ever increasing opportunities for children to get online now. Through laptops, smart phones, tablets and games consoles. By following these simple steps you can ensure that your children stay safe when online and still enjoy all the wonderful benefits of the “World Wide Web”.
- Brush Up Your Own Knowledge of the Web - The more you understand about the internet, the easier it will be to inform your children. Make sure you are aware of the different sites your children will be visiting. Get used to browsing different sites including social networking sites. Remember if it’s easy for you to find online it will be easy for them too!
- Keep The Internet “In Sight” – Whether they are using laptops, tablets or even their smart phones, make sure your children are always using the internet where everyone can see. Never allow them to be locked away in their bedroom or out of sight from anyone.
- Explain The Dangers That Can Be Found Online – If you feel your children are mature enough to be using the web then they should be mature enough to understand the different dangers inherent to being online and when using social media. Explain the different situations that they could find themselves in and always make sure they know exactly what to do and who to inform if any such situations occur.
- Use Filtering Software – There are many marvellous software programmes available to purchase and or download which block out adult/harmful/explicit material. Most programmes can be tailored to block our different sites and content according to the parents’ specifications that are set.
- Always Be Open And Honest – Always be open with your children. If they have questions about the internet and or its dangers, be honest and explain things truthfully. The more open you are with them the more likely they are to be open with you if anything should happen online. Having an honest and open understanding of what they get up to online will ensure they feel comfortable to come to you should they encounter any trouble online.
There are many resources online for children and parents so if you are in need of any advice then do look around online and stay safe.