Whether we like it or not, technology and the Internet are being used by our children in their day-to-day lives. Use of the Internet can be an amazing thing; learning new words or skills, as well as being a fun way to relax and keep in touch with friends and relatives. However, we are all aware of the risks, threats and challenges of the online community.
Here are some ideas which will help parents to keep your child safe online:
Set rules and agree on boundaries as a family
- Set boundaries on how much your child can spend time online, and what they can do.
- Agree as a whole family, so accessing devices can be shared fairly.
- Agree that you can look at your child’s devices, such as phones, from time to time.
- If you are finding it difficult to oversee what your child is accessing, or you are working parents, there are tools that can help you monitor what your children access and also limit their time across all devices.
- Agree that devices must be used in a common area in the house. Also, supervise your child, considering their age and ability.
Talk about online safety and get involved
- Talk to your child and listen to what they are saying to you. Explore the Internet together, taking an interest in the websites they use. Talking to them about what they do online gives you the chance to discuss safe behaviour.
- Explain to your child, how photos and videos cannot be deleted from the Internet, and once posted, can be shared widely with unknown people.
- Talk about how it is really important to set a strong password to protect all accounts and how to keep this password safe.
- Encourage your child to question you about things they see and read online.
- Talk to your child about the age-rating on apps, games and websites.
- Encourage your child to come and talk to you about anything that is upsetting them online.
- Teach your child to never post any personal information online such as phone numbers, addresses, school names, etc. Explain to your child to never post any inappropriate photos or videos online, even if the chat is private.
Monitor who they are talking to
- Explain to your child that a stranger can pop up anywhere online: social media apps, games or even emails.
- Your child might think they know someone well online, even if they’ve played one game together, so it is really essential to talk to them about what they can / cannot share with those people.
- Learn about the games they play and see what risks might be there.
- Teach your child how to report unkind people and block them. Make sure they know what to do next, for instance, come and talk to you about it, or another safe adult.
BIS Abu Dhabi Counselling Team