The internet is undeniably an incredible invention and very helpful to both individuals, old and young, and society as a whole. However, there are dark sides to the internet and people who use it should be wary of scammers, hackers and other dangers. This is especially true of young people who are naïve and unlikely to understand what’s lurking on the other side of their screen.
It’s obviously not all doom and gloom; the internet helps our kids with their homework, keeps them entertained and lets them communicate with friends and family. It’s actually quite uncommon for today’s generation of young people to not own a smart phone, tablet or computer (or at least have access to one). There are some fairly obvious options for parents who want to protect their children, such as monitoring and limiting internet use and activating parental controls, but there are also other steps you can take. When it comes to discussing internet safety with your kids, here are some tips from a primary school in Cambridge.
Initiate a family meeting in which you all discuss appropriate use of technology and put into place some fair, but clear-cut rules. The idea here is to establish boundaries that each family member understands properly so that no lines can be crossed. Ask your child about the apps and websites they would like to use and go through each of them together. Be sure to point out each of the possible dangers. For example, if they would like to sign up to Instagram, first make sure that they are the legal age. Point out that people often edit their photos and so they should always view other people’s profiles with a pinch of salt, otherwise this might reduce their self-esteem. Make sure they know not to share any inappropriate photos onto their profile.
What’s more, you should explain to your child that sometimes people pretend to be someone else online, so they might not be talking to the right person. With this in mind, they should know to never meet up with anyone that they’ve met online and they should never share any personal information, such as their address or debit card details.
Clear communication in which you and your child establish fair rules about how they use the internet will result in an honest, open relationship in which the two of you can talk openly about any issues that arise.