Our children are growing up in a world where the internet is part of our everyday lives. We have never been more connected or more informed, which is of course a priceless asset to education. Along with the benefits the internet provides, it also poses a lot of risks. Once children have their own phone or tablet there is only so much you can block with parental controls to monitor what they can access. It is important that children understand internet safety as soon as they have unsupervised access to the web. To find out how you can explore internet safety with your child, take a look at the following advice from an independent school in Hertfordshire.
The most important thing is to make sure that they understand the risks. Children are far more likely to follow rules regarding internet safety if they understand why they are in place. You can approach this in an age appropriate manner, though it’s important to note that if a child is too young to understand the true risks of social networking platforms and chat rooms, they are perhaps too young to be accessing these sites at all. If your child is old enough to be using social media you should explain why they shouldn’t accept friend requests from strangers and why they should be careful what sort of information they share and who they share it to. Naivety online makes children a target for scams, predators and bullying. Equipping children with information can help them keep themselves safe. Most importantly it is important that your child knows that they should tell you if anything ever makes them feel uncomfortable or if they are unsure about anything online.
Once your child understands the potential threats it is important to lay out a set of ground rules and put measures in place to minimise the risk. You can set parental controls on your broadband and also on your child’s device to limit what they have access to. The rules you put in place will probably depend on your child’s age. For younger children you may decide that they can only use the internet in a communal family room, or that they must share all passwords with a parent. You may trust older kids to have a little more privacy online, but it is still important to establish a code of conduct for them to follow in regards to the information they share, what they are looking at and who they are connecting with. Communication is so important to help you monitor your child’s safety online, if you have an idea about what sort of sites they are accessing you will be able to look out for any red flags.