Using the internet has become second nature for children these days but it can also be scary. However as the web offers such huge opportunities for learning and entertainment, depriving your kids of access isn’t really an option.
To celebrate Safer Internet Day, here are some easy tips for parents that will help families build meaningful online experiences and make the most of the internet together, whilst staying away from potential dangers:
1) Shape a safer internet for yourself. Before sitting down with your kids, make sure you’re setting a good example. Be a role model, and be proud of the content that you post yourself. Think about the comments you make on forums and the images you’re posting online or sharing on mobile.
2) Think of the bigger picture before you share. Just like it’s easy for you to post a picture or comment, it’s just as easy for someone to copy it, share it, edit it, and post it in other places. If you want to keep something private, don’t share it – no matter how small your group of friends.
3) Start talking. Once you’re happy with your own digital presence, start talking to your kids – and be open-minded! Be keen to learn about their digital world and how it influences their lives. What apps are they using and which sites do they visit? Try and see the fun and enjoyment they get out of being online and ask them questions about what they’re learning.
4) Head online for safety videos made specifically for kids. For an engaging way to spark a discussion about safe internet practices, play a game or watch a video with your children about online safety. You’ll have the chance to spend quality time with your child while teaching important lessons about how to browse safely and smartly.
5) Establish some ground rules. Once you and your kids are having an open dialogue and understand the risks, come together and set some common ground rules. Put together a family media agreement that you all sign like this one here. This will ensure the whole family agrees about how you behave online – but you must make sure you stick to it too!
6) Protect your personal security. Think about setting up a two-step security authentication to keep others out of your email, social and sharing accounts. Privacy settings vary between sites, can be different on PC and mobile and change over time. Remember - awareness is key. Be aware of how your information is handled and what you can control. Knowledge is power and in this case - it’s safety!
7) Encourage online safety in your community. Share safety tips between your groups of friends, school groups or after school clubs. It’s really useful to have the support of your children’s friend’s parents in setting the ground rules. Perhaps meet on a regular basis to discuss new issues and learn from each other. You can create a digital safety kit to start the conversation from a number of resources.
8) Be an upstander, not a bystander. If you see something inappropriate or malicious, report it and encourage your children to do the same. If something wouldn’t be acceptable in real life, it shouldn’t be acceptable online. This helps create a safer environment for everyone, and always remember you should not be afraid to report something abusive on Yahoo - your anonymity is protected.
We have more safety tips here.