I found it very
interesting last week when speaking to Year 7 and 8 students about internet
safety. I had an opportunity to ask various questions on the subject, which
allowed me to get a feel for the state of play.
I asked how many students
have computers in their bedrooms that they use, and about 10% of them raised
their hand. Not only was I surprised, I was also disappointed. There have been
numerous articles, reports and information in the media that point to the fact
that getting the computer out of the bedroom is the first step. I thought all
parents understood this, but sadly, this is not the case.
Many students had their
own smart phone, be it Android or iPhone, and many played games and other
activities on their parents’ iPads and tablet devices.
What I did find extremely
encouraging was the amount of questions students asked in both sessions. Not
only were they paying attention, they were also interested. They had a thirst
to know more. They were asking well thought questions and even telling me about
how they are using technology. Fantastic to see.
We’ve come up with 5 easy
wins for parents to manage internet usage at home better, and keep their
children safer. We’ll also explain why.
1. No computers in the bedrooms.
includes mobile devices. Why? Well the internet is the most public place you
will ever be, where you may feel the most private. Children feel the most private at home, and
even more so in their bedrooms. There are many cases where children become withdrawn
from the ‘real’ world and spend hours talking to ‘friends’ on the internet.
This is dangerous, especially when the ‘friends’ are not known in person. Your
child may be sexually groomed and be unaware of it.
predators are all around us and are very convincing and have devious methods of
2. Set clear rules at bedtime
When your children go to bed, ensure ALL electronic
devices are placed in a bowl on the table. Smart phones and tablets are fully
internet enabled and function as computers nowadays. Any device that connects
to the internet should not be taken to bed. That includes old style mobile
3. Set time limits
Agree time limits for computer usage with your
children. That way you both come to a consensus and make them stick to it.
4. Install Monitoring Software
software is a lot
less expensive than you may think, and has two main functions. It has blocking
capability, where you can block categories
of internet sites you do not want children to visit. There are about 50
categories to choose from. Blocking certain categories is essential for younger
children. That way they will not come across objectionable material
monitoring component allows you, as a parent, to measure whether they are
practicing positive internet safety practices. Remember, unless you have
monitoring software installed, you are not able to properly quantify whether
they are safe online.
will not prevent cyberbullying. But it does go some way in identifying whether
it is happening or not. It may also identify whether your child is engaging in
a parent’s responsibility to ensure our kids remain safe. Offline and online.
5. Know where your kids like to go
Be involved and learn where your kids like to go on
the internet. If its Facebook, ask them to explain the privacy settings to you.
Better still, get them to help set up a profile for yourself.
Understanding where your kids surf on the internet and
why, builds up a good relationship and fosters trust. After all, being involved
is in the best interest for all of us!
For more information on monitoring or general internet safety contact us: www.websafety.co.nz
In : tips for parents
Tags: internet safety for parents