Every day, there are new websites to visit, apps to download and social media platforms to join. It is hard, if not impossible as a parent, to keep up with the latest technology to understand the risks for your children and protect them.
More and more children are using smartphones, tablets and other internet-enabled devices – often at the request of the school itself.
1. Things are moving quick, keep informed. It’s important for parents to educate themselves about what’s happening online, and keeping abreast of the latest trends. This may involve checking out the latest apps, familiarising yourself with the ‘settings’ features on your devices, or reading through blogs and posts from experts in this area.
2. Talk to your kids, establish some agreed rules about what’s appropriate, what you expect from them and how they can keep their identity safe. Make sure they know that the same standards of behaviour apply whether they are in the ‘real world’ or online. Remind them that what they post or do online is permanent and public.
3. Don’t be afraid to check your children’s devices or internet history periodically. Using social media and the internet can be amazing and informative, but it also can be dangerous if used inappropriately. Young people are not fully equipped to deal with and / or respond to everything that is out there, and are generally more trusting than adults. As the parent, only you will know what the line is between monitoring your child’s online behaviour and respecting their privacy. This will obviously depend on the age and maturity of your child and will need to be continually reassessed as you child grows. You may wish to install a parental control app (available on both iPhone and Android) that allows you to remotely monitor their devices.
4. Ask them to show you what they do – kids are usually eager to share their knowledge with you and this will give you a great opportunity to understand their world a bit more. This will also open up lines of communication with them regarding their online habits, and the dangers they can encounter.
5. Set limits on their use of devices and internet time. Given that evenings can be more dangerous for children and teens to be connected (and increases their vulnerability), a good way to reduce the likelihood of cyber bullying is to restrict the use of these devices at this time. Parents can negotiate rules with their children for the privilege of owning a phone or device, which can include leaving bedroom doors open, leaving devices in common areas of the family home overnight, or disabling the router after 10pm.
Compiled by Perimeter Guardian a technology-based company that provides protection to school communities across Australia. It partners with schools to provide protection particularly in the areas of new technologies and cyber safety.