At the peak of the first lockdown parents said their child’s tech use had nearly doubled. Now with cold weather and shorter days that’s likely to have risen even further. It’s nearly impossible for parents to keep an eye on what their kids are exposed to on the internet. They’re juggling work, home schooling and trying to keep an entire family healthy and sane. And as our survey showed, half of parents admitted to making it up as they go-along when it comes to tech rules.
With more unsupervised time online kids may be exposed to cyber bullying or grooming. They may share too much information online, make unauthorised purchases, click suspicious links with the risk of malware infections or get exposed to inappropriate content. That’s why it’s more important than ever for parents to have "the talk" about how kids keep themselves safe online.
This Safer Internet Day, we want to encourage parents to kick start that conversation. Ask your kids about what they’ve seen, what questions they have, and talk about the risks that are out there.
Kids won’t always tell their parents if they’ve seen something that worries them. They might be afraid of getting in trouble or been told not to "tell". By normalising regular discussions with kids about the risks and rules of the online world, both kids and parents will feel more comfortable and spot when something is off.
Tech can help parents out too, whether it’s apps like ours that flip the switch on the Wi-Fi for family dinner, or the ability to limit access to certain popular gaming sites when it’s time for online school.
If you’re looking to have "the talk" and want to give your kids the knowledge and skills to stay safe online, here are some good places to start: Establish, and stick to, house rules and guidance on tech use