With more than half of the world’s population now accessing the internet, online safety is a critical new, additional worry for parents. With so many available online activities, children and young adults are discovering how their friends live their lives on the other side of the world. It’s introducing them to the cultural differences of their peers and allowing them to tap into a wealth of information at the click of a mouse.
Social media profiles are as endemic to us as the clothes we wear, or the perfume that we prefer. The number of social media platforms grows each day. Apps designed to bring people together – each app will have a target demographic audience, meaning that a variety of people will access it. Never have we been able to consume content at the rate we are doing. There is information all around us.
People are living their lives on a pedestal for the whole world to see.
A child can pick up a piece of tech and know instantly how to use it. I believe it is a skill worth celebrating.
We all know about the darker side of the internet.
But it isn’t just those unseen dangers – the paedophiles who groom and manipulate our children. With so many social media platforms, it is incredibly hard for parents to keep up with them all. As a parent, the pressure to keep an eye on your youngsters is not only outside the home but also when they’re inside now, too.
Online harassment and cyberbullying are so prolific that the laws have had to be changed to protect us from these crimes. These acts often come from school friends or people commenting within a ‘group chat’ setting.
It also means that parents and carers constantly must update their knowledge and awareness to try and stay ahead of the game.
Because, with more than half of the world’s population being online, it is impossible to escape.
There is help out there
I work with parents, foster carers and professionals, delivering online safety training packages and courses to ensure they have the skills and knowledge necessary to tackle online activities safely.
Here are just some of the tips I share within my training to help parents ensure their children’s online safety:
Educate your children about online safety: Whilst we want to protect our children’s innocence, it is necessary to have careful conversations with them once they start interacting on the internet. Teaching your children about the dangers of the internet, such as cyberbullying, online predators, and phishing scams will help them if they are ever asked for pertinent information. Make sure they know what information they should never share online, such as their full name, address, phone number, and passwords.
Use parental controls: Parental control software can help you monitor your child’s online activity, block inappropriate content, and limit their access to specific websites.
Set rules and boundaries: Establish rules for your children’s online activities, such as limiting their screen time, prohibiting them from using certain apps or websites, and requiring them to ask for permission before downloading anything.
Monitor their social media accounts: Forewarned is forearmed. Make sure you know what your children post on social media and whom they interact with. Consider setting up your account and following them to keep an eye on their activity.
Encourage open communication: Create a safe environment where your children feel comfortable talking to you about their online experiences. Let them know that they can come to you if they encounter anything online that makes them uncomfortable or if they make a mistake.
Keep devices in common areas: Limit your children’s access to the internet by keeping devices in common areas of the home, such as the living room or kitchen. This will allow you to monitor their activity and ensure they use the internet safely.
The internet is a fantastic tool. As a safeguarding professional, I’m a huge believer that, in the right hands, it enhances our lives…when used appropriately.
The dangers can change according to the age of the child, too. But so do the Online Safety & Parent Support training courses I offer. They are appropriate to the age group of the children and the professionals requiring the training.
It’s Not All Doom & Gloom
For my 1-2-1 Parenting Support POWER HOUR, the areas we cover are tailored to the age range of children within your household.
If there is anything in this blog that you want to know more about, you can book a chat with me HERE
More details on the bespoke online safety training packages that I offer for professionals are HERE
It is up to us to ensure that our children remain safe and that we remain vigilant. It is possible to stay safe and protect them through training and education.
Online safety for children is a top priority for parents and carers.
By educating your children, using parental controls, setting rules and boundaries, monitoring their social media accounts, encouraging open communication, and keeping devices in common areas, you can help ensure your children’s online safety.