Young children are increasingly digitally literate and as adults, we need to know what they are up to and teach them how to keep safe online. In school this week your child will receive specific advice in lessons about staying safe whilst using the internet, tablets, phones and when accessing social media. I hope the following information will also help you to help them…
Technically children under the age of 13 should not be building profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. This is a difficult area as many of their friends will have profiles. Twitter’s terms and conditions allow children under 13 to have accounts with their parent’s consent. When your child is old enough to access social media, take time to sit with them and go through privacy settings, explaining who can see what they publish. Make sure they understand that anything published exists forever.
Advise your child how to develop a ‘perfect password’ and make sure they know how important it is not to give that password to anyone else. You should know your child’s passwords so that you can monitor their on-line behaviour. Make sure that your child understands that any action taken using their password will be their responsibility.
Messaging and Group Chat:
This is a tricky area to police as it is by its very nature hidden from public view. Make sure that you check in with your child regularly about their group chats, who is taking part in them and make sure they are only talking to people they know in real life. Encouraging trust between you and your child will hopefully ensure that they will come and tell you if anything inappropriate occurs.
Lots of children enjoy gaming and it is very easy for open and closed groups to be set up by children. You need to know what is going on in their online play in the same way as you would for their face to face relationships. Find out what your child is playing, who with, what are they discussing etc. Building up an interest in their game playing will help you keep an open dialogue if they are worried about anything.
The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child. Engage in their interests and find out what they are up to. The internet is an amazing invention but brings with it some dangers that we need to protect our children from. Further advice and links can be found by visiting our e-safety page.