I know that technology is and is going to be a major part of my children’s lives and keeping them safe and teaching my children how to be safe online is something that plays on my mind A LOT. Luckily, I have a husband who does this for a living (teaching schools and parents about e-safety) so I thought I’d share his recent presentation on how to keep children safe online in the hope you find it equally useful.
How are children using technology?
So what are the different ways children are using technology and what can they do on these platforms? Here I’ve explained some of the most popular ways children are using devices and apps/platforms.
This can include children playing games against friends/strangers and chatting to friends/strangers using microphone as part of the game on headsets.
IM (Instant Messaging) and Group Chat
This can include children talking to their friends online and talking to strangers online. IM options are on most social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram as well as Whatsapp/Texting on mobiles.
Including: Facebook / Twitter / Google+/Instagram/Pinterest/Snapchat/Whatsapp These platforms are mainly used for:
- Sharing photos
- Adding and ‘collecting’ friends.
- Using instant messaging.
- Creating profiles.
- Checking themselves in via location or event
- Updating their status
- Using GPS
Children can download music legally (or illegally) as well as uploading music or streaming music onto devices.
Blogging and Vlogging
Lots of young people now write blogs about their lives – a blog often run by one person and can be on a range of topics. It is often referred to being like a diary or journal and are updated regularly. Vlogging is a video blog.
Using Webcams/Live video on phones
Talking to people on webcams using Facetime, Snapchat or Skype.
What are the risks online?
Sharing personal information
- Too much detail in online profiles / Twitter / Facebook
- Sharing too much information with friends and strangers.
- Including address, phone numbers, email addresses and locations.
- Not making photos and status updates private
- This is bullying someone using technology.
- It is a big problem at the moment and it can start off as a joke and spiral out of control.
- It may include nasty comments and direct messages via social media or devices.
- Sending rude / explicit photos via email, social networking sites and mobiles.
- Once they have been sent they can be put online or shared with anybody.
Blogging/Social Networking Sites
- Exposing too much information online
- Expressing opinions that may get them into trouble
- Writing a diary or description of an event that maybe online for many years
Accessing unsuitable websites
- Accidentally clicking on websites that contain violence or inappropriate images.
- Illegal film websites
- Hearing inappropriate chat on online gaming
- Talking to strangers and exchanging personal details
What can we do as parents to keep our children safe online?
There are lots of ways we as parents can help our children stay safe online.
- Be aware of what young people are doing online
- Be friends on with your children on FB etc. (Be aware they can restrict what you can see or more than one account.)
- Being approachable and open when talking to your children about their online activity.
- Ask what they are doing also listening out for names you don’t recognise.
- Restrict the amount of time personal devices are on in a child’s bedroom.
- Speak to your internet service provider about how you can filter internet access.
- Be aware that smart phones can access the internet using 3G/4G not just your WiFi
- Use your judgement (should my child have a computer or device in their room?)
- Put in place rules and timing restrictions on mobile/computer usage.
- Use parental control software if needed!
If you want to find out more about how to keep your kids safe online – here are some great websites.
Think You Know - this website gives great advice and breaks advice down via the age of your child.
Internet Matters - a great source of information and includes fab videos guides full of useful advice
Official government guidelines - official government advice setting out how to keep your kids safe online.
“Kids don’t need protection we need guidance. If you protect us you are making us weaker we don’t go through all the trial and error necessary to learn what we need to survive on our own ...don’t fight our battles for us just give us assistance when we need it”