Stay Safe Online

Wednesday, 6 July 2016  |  Admin

 

Useful advice for parents of younger children, extracted from “There’s an App for That!” Parenting in a Digital Age by Tom Farrelly, in LEARNING ON THE JOB: PARENTING IN MODERN IRELAND, edited by Colm O’Doherty and Ashling Jackson:

Discover the Internet together

Be the one to introduce your child to the Internet. For both parent and child, it is an advantage to discover the Internet together. Try to find web sites that are exciting and fun so that together you achieve a positive attitude to Internet exploration. This could make it easier to share both positive and negative experiences in the future.

Agree with your child rules for Internet use in your home

Try to reach an agreement with your child on the guidelines that apply to Internet use in your household. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Discuss when and for how long it is acceptable for your child to use the Internet;
  • Agree how to treat personal information (name, address, telephone, e-mail);
  • Discuss how to behave towards others when gaming, chatting, e-mailing or messaging;
  • Agree what type of sites and activities are OK or not OK in your family.

Encourage your child to be careful when disclosing personal information

It is important to be aware that many web pages made for children ask them for personal information in order to access personalised content. Being conscious of when and where it is all right to reveal personal information is vital. A simple rule for younger children could be that the child should not give out name, phone number or photo without your approval.

Talk about the risks associated with meeting online ‘friends’ in person

Adults should understand that the Internet could be a positive meeting place for children, where they can get to know other young people and make new friends. However, for safety and to avoid unpleasant experiences, it is important that children do not meet strangers they have met online without being accompanied by an adult, friends or others they trust.

Teach your child about evaluating information and being critically aware of information found online

Most children use the Internet to improve and develop knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests. Children should be aware that not all information found online is correct, accurate or relevant.

Don’t be too critical towards your child’s exploration of the Internet

Most children use the Internet to improve and develop knowledge in relation to schoolwork and personal interests. Children should be aware that not all information found online is correct, accurate or relevant. Educate children on how to verify information they find by comparing it to alternative sources on the same topic. Show them trusted sites they can use to compare information.

Report online material you may consider illegal to the appropriate authorities

It is vital that we all take responsibility for the Web and report matters that we believe could be illegal. By doing this, we can help to prevent illegal activities online, such as child-pornography or attempts to lure children via chat, mail or messaging.

Encourage respect for others; stamp out cyberbullying

There is an informal code of conduct for the Internet. As in everyday life, there are informal ethical rules for how to behave when relating to other people on the Internet.

Let your children show you what they like to do online

To be able to guide your child with regard to Internet use, it is important to understand how children use the Internet and know what they like to do online. Let your child show you which websites they like visiting and what they do there.

Remember that the positive aspects of the Internet outweigh the negatives

The Internet is an excellent educational and recreational resource for children. There are millions of age-appropriate sites for younger children. Encourage your children to use such sites and to avoid registering for sites and services with adult content and behaviours.

 

Source: Abridged from Internet Safety Advice: Top 10 Tips for Parents (Webwise.ie).