During these uncertain times, virtual learning allows learning to continue outside the classroom. The time our children spend online has increased more than ever, either to attend their lessons, submit their homework or communicate with their school community. For many parents, online safety can be a challenge now more than usual.
As a parent there is plenty you can do to ensure your child is safe online. Let’s Talk about some practical tips to keep our children and young people protected online.
The most effective way to ensure your child remains safe online is by having an open conversation. A friendly talk with your child on how they spend their time on screen, and who they have interacted with, is beneficial.
Encouraging your child to discuss the positives when online and what they have enjoyed could be a bridge to discuss online safety. It is recommended that these chats take place regularly and become a part of your routine.
This helps to make sure that your child is accessing appropriate content online. This can be set up across all devices at home such as computers, smart phones and tablets. Parental controls can be used to monitor how much time your child spends online whilst also reducing the likelihood of your child being exposed to inappropriate content and online predators.
The amount of time we spend online has increased, and our children are having to use devices even more now. Setting boundaries and planning regular breaks from devices in your day is essential for your child’s wellbeing and is an effective way to manage screen time. Do ensure these boundaries apply to everyone at home, including you!
- Encourage respectful communication and behavior
Discuss the importance of being respectful and kind towards people online, and how one’s behaviour can affect others. Encourage them to listen and understand different perspectives, keep criticism constructive and respect diversity.
Children tend to share a lot about their lives online, and they may not be fully aware of the risks and the impact it can have on their current and future reputation.
Have a conversation with them about the importance of checking their privacy settings regularly. It is extremely important to remind your child about limiting who sees what they post or share online.
- What if something goes wrong?
First, as a preventative tool, make sure that your child is familiar with blocking and reporting features. If your child comes to you with a concern, try to remain calm, be non-judgmental and acknowledge they did the right thing by telling you. There is a lot of support out there to help you decide on next steps.
BIS Abu Dhabi Counselling Team