We have to admit parenting in the digital world is pretty new and not an easy task.
A recent survey by Internet security company Norton revealed that one in 10 Australian children are affected by cyberbullying each year and that one in five parents had been warned about their child’s social media activities by their school.
You only have to chat to kids, parents and teachers to know the issue of cyberbullying is getting worse and the wrong use of social media can have a catastrophic and permanent impact on children and their families.
7 Easy Tips For Keeping Your Children Safe Online
Without being too dramatic we should keep in mind there is a lot of data out there proving parents invest time in talking to their kids about road safety or safe sex but avoid conversations about how to stay safe online or how to act as a good digital citizen.
The survey shed some light on how big the challenge is to parent in this digital world –
- 74% of Australian parents did not know what their kids were actually doing online
- 44% did not supervise their children’s online activities
- 52% have never discussed the dangers of sexting
- 27% (almost) one in three parents claim their children have joined social networking platforms even when the rules state they must be over a certain age
Parents can ensure their kids have enjoyable and safe online experiences by talking to them and avoiding judging, overreacting, or panicking about anything kids tell you.
Here is a list of expert tips to help you:
1. Be a positive role model and be aware that children like to imitate your behaviour
2. Set up ‘House Rules’ about how computers, smartphones and gaming systems are used at home
3. Do not share private information like passwords, names, addresses and phone numbers with people you don’t know
4. Install parental control software such as Norton Family (it’s free) to limit the sites your child can access when you aren’t around, or on devices that disappear into backpacks and bedrooms. You can also limit sensitive information you don’t want your child sharing
5. Use privacy options wisely on social media
6. Keep computers and mobile devices visible in the house. For example no computers in the bedrooms but in the living area
7. Use strong, unique passwords on all your accounts and devices, especially mobile phones and install security software on all devices. Make sure you use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers for passwords and don’t use “123456” or the word “password,” as your password
The key to keeping children safe online is to have an open-minded conversation with them and be interested in their digital lives. Questions such as: “What are your friends doing online” or “Has anything online ever made you feel weird, sad scared or uncomfortable?” can be good conversation starters that create a safe environment for your children to give you honest feedback.
You must reassure them that you won’t punish them for their answers and continue the conversation regularly.
I have teamed up with Norton by Symantec for this article.
For more information, visit www.norton.com/au/protectingkids
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