Safer Internet Day

Today is Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, 9 February. This annual day is to remind us we all have a responsibility to make the internet a safe space.

Safer Internet Day 2016As a parent though it can seem overwhelming. Particularly when you look at the amount of time young people are now spending online.

We have heard from parents that they feel they don’t even occupy the same space online as young people.

Being perfectly realistic here, you’re probably not. That’s not to frighten or worry you further, only to let you know the reality, and there’s still a lot you can do about a safer internet for your children.

Where can parents start?

Communication about online safety needs to be an ongoing thing. What was occupying most of your daughter’s or son’s attention online last year may not be the same right now.

They could be playing a new game, or on a new network which potentially means new sets of online friends, that they’re talking to all the time. This is something you need to know about and understand the world they occupy.

Discussing the implications of online behaviour on a regular basis is important too.

Make young people aware that once an image or video is out there online, it is out there. It can no longer be controlled as to where it goes and who sees it.

There have been many high profiles cases of cyberbullying that are of concern to a lot of parents. Read more about cyberbullying, what it is and what you can do about it.

Ask your son or daughter about online

Have regular open conversations with your son or daughter about what they think is appropriate.

  • What do they think is OK to share – photos/videos/comments/personal details?
  • What they consider to be bullying behaviour? Have they witnessed it?
  • Are they aware of the consequences about their online behaviour?
  • Do they think about the people on the other end of what they’re writing/posting?

Keep up to date with online trends

You don’t have to be the authority on technology, and neither are you expected to be. Do keep an eye on what the popular sites and apps are and how they’re used.

There are loads of articles and sources of information on how to stay safe online. Take a look at talking about online communication and cyberbullying for more.

Keeping communication open with your son or daughter means you can ask them to teach you about technology.

Watch your own behaviour

It can be very difficult to curtail the amount of personal content your son or daughter shares online if you do it all the time. There are plenty of parents out there overly attached to their phones or ipads.

Make sure you all (that’s all of you) take time to be device free at stages in the day, to talk face-to-face.

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