The general cyber safety messages we pass onto your children as they head back to start a new school year will most likely not differ much from year to year. The reason being is that human nature and the risks and responsibilities remain much the same.
What is happening though is that children are accessing technology at a younger age, spending more time online and have access to more technology than ever before. Quite simply, online activity and communication is becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives. For these reasons, no matter the age of children, it is imperative now more than ever that we talk to and guide our children about their online world.
No conversation with our children about their safety in both physical and cyber worlds goes unrewarded. A simple reminder of the danger, rules and responsibilities as it applies to their online world doesn’t only refresh this information in their minds but goes towards instilling it.
Some milestones a parent may face as their children move into a higher year level can include:
- “I’m 13 now, so I’m allowed to have Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook”
- “Can I have my own phone”
- “I’m the only one who doesn’t have ……”
- “The school gave me this laptop so you can’t tell me what to do with it”
- “I don’t have to tell you my passwords”
Most parents will be confronted with one or more or these milestones as their children grow. Remember:
- There is no hard and fast rule to any of these milestones. Every child and family is different. Trust your instincts.
- Make your choices carefully and try to stay informed. Once something is in, it’s not easy to get it out.
- A child will most likely not miss out and will not be negatively affected if they don’t get their own way with technology.
- You are the one who makes the decisions as to how technology is used.
- You have a right to ask your child any question you want about technology, that makes you a good parent.
- You have a right to know where your children are going online and who they are connecting with.
- Rules surrounding technology aren’t optional, they are essential and will repay you many times over
- Children usually don’t need the computer for homework as long as they would have you believe.
- Technology can be a positive part of our families’ life, however, it needs to be managed.
If mistakes are made or rules are broken do not overact, this can be normal. Have a conversation with your child and use it as a learning experience.
Most families and children get through their cyber world relatively unscathed with no life changing issues. What we can do now is to reduce that likelihood even further by staying involved and communicating with our children.
Please follow the links to useful cyber safety resources for parents and carers.
These include our brand new 30 minute online cyber safety courses for parents, Internet Safe Training.