The Internet is amazing. Children can play, learn, create and connect - opening up a whole world of exciting possibilities. But with the digital world changing all the time, how can you make sure your child is staying safe?
As the summer holiday approaches, as adults and children, we may find ourselves with a little more time than usual to connect and communicate with friends. This can be in the form of sharing photos of the great times we are having or in increasing our circle of friends and adding to our Facebook friend lists, Instagram followers and Snapchat conversations, as well as a wealth of other social media that has passed me by! Of course, much of this sharing of information is completely innocent and helps us stay connected with our family and friends, but it may be prudent to remind our children of a few basic points before they accept people to their groups.
Before accepting a friend request, does your child actually know the person, have they looked at their profile to see if they recognise them and do they have mutual friends in common? Does your child know how to set their privacy settings so that people who they don’t know, don’t see any information that you don’t want them to see. Think before you send: speak to your child about what they post, what can often be seen as a harmless joke can be deeply hurtful to others. Remind your child that once a message or photo has been shared, it’s hard to control what happens to it and taking it down after the event is nearly impossible. Think before you share: change your privacy settings so that people cannot see your locations, for example. If your privacy settings are not secure, anyone can see your information.
The following video was produced by UNICEF and serves as a useful reminder to us as parents, that we need to educate our children in order to protect their information on line. It may serve as a useful starting point for a discussion and to help you understand fully what your child shares potentially to the rest of the world and what information the applications so many children engage with use: http://www.facebook.com/unicef/videos/10156082074934002/
Mike Wolfe, Head of Primary