As parents we’re there to protect and guide our children. But how can we do it when we’re not aware of where and what they’re doing? Today’s children are often more proficient on computers than their parents, and most of them own a mobile phone. So parents often don’t where their children are virtually and who they’re communicating with.
The best way to keep your children safe on the web is not through banning, blocking and filtering – it’s about educating yourself about what they’re doing …and constant dialogue.
- UK Safer Internet Centre https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers
- Internet Matters www.internetmatters.org
- Think U Know www.thinkuknow.co.uk
- NSPCC: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety
Gaming: Club Penguin to Minecraft…and Beyond
Do you know what games your children are playing? Do you know who they are playing them with online? Do you know the age limit of the game? If not ask them! Gaming is fun and is growing in complexity and sophistication - however it can contain high levels of violence, as well as sexual references, bad language, references to drugs and discrimination. Some games even encourage and teach gambling.
You can adjust gaming consoles safety settings to control age-related games and the amount of time spent online.
Two valuable websites give detailed information on the games your children are playing:
- Pan European Game Information (PEGI) www.pegi.info/en/index
- Common Sense Media www.commonsensemedia.org/
Social Media: Friendships 24/7
As you may know by now, your children can be in touch with their friends around the clock! Social media and instant messaging are great ways for them to communicate and engage with their peers. It’s not just Facebook - there’s a whole range of apps, services and platforms available to your children such as Kik, Tumblr, Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp.
Talk to your children about what they post, and whether it is appropriate. Remind them that if they wouldn't say it face-to-face, don't do it on-line. This includes engaging with strangers.
Cyberbullying: dealing with negative behaviour
The Scary Guy training that all students undergo at Route 39 Academy not only addresses behaviour face-to-face, but online. Negative behaviour is unacceptable on both accounts and any reported instances of cyberbullying are acted upon.
Talk to your child about negative behaviour on-line, and encourage them to report it to their personal coach at school.
- Anti Bullying Alliance: www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk