Thank you to all the parents who came to our ‘Bring Your Parent to School Day’. We hope you enjoyed the chance to see what is happening in you child’s class and thank you to all the parents who were able to stay for the workshop in the hall, when we talked about online safety.
Our children today are natives of the online world – they are growing up in a world of devices and the online world at their fingertips. Parents have different thresholds of how much they allow their children to have access to the online world. However, the reality is, no matter how much you limit the children, they will have some access to the internet, for example by using their friend’s phone or playing games at their friend’s house. It is therefore our responsibility as educators and as parents, to teach them how to stay safe online.
Here are 5 of our top tips:
1. OPEN LINE OF COMMUNICATION
Build a relationship with your child where there is an open line of communication – and start at a young age. You want your child to be comfortable to talk to you about their online experiences and not to be secretive about what they are doing. For example, we had an interesting conversation with a 7 year old child who was using Snapchat and inviting more than 200 people to be her ‘friends’ – all of them unknown to her. She said she does it because she likes that they ‘like’ the videos that she posts. We can only help children to understand the risks of what they are doing and teach them how to protect themselves if we have these conversations with them.
2. VALUES CONTINUE INTO THE ONLINE WORLD
Teach your child that values continue into the online world. For some reason, some people have a disconnect between their behaviour in the ‘real’ world and the ‘virtual world’. Children must learn to be just a respectful online than what the expectation is in the ‘real world’. The message must be clear: If you won’t say something to someone face to face, then you should not type it and send it!
3. GET TO KNOW THE APPS
Use NetAware to view all the social networks, apps and games. It is hard to keep up with the online world and children hear about apps from their friends, so do not think that your child won’t know about an app just because you have not introduced them to that app. Make sure you monitor your child’s device and how they use it.
NetAware has a search button that you can use to find more information about an app.
For example, if you type in ‘TikTok’, it will show you the official age rating and the expert view of the risks, at a glance -see below
Here is what they say about Snapchat
4. KNOW WHERE TO FIND SUPPORT
www.parentinfo.org is a great website for help and advice for families. It is a collaboration between Parent Zone and NCA-CEOP, providing support and guidance for parents from leading experts and organisations.
CEOP is the UK’s national crime agency that is tasked to work nationally and internationally to bring online child sex offenders to the UK courts. You can report directly to them if you have a concern about the way someone has been communicating to your child:
5. LOOK UP
Finally, let’s remember to make time to put our devices away and spend quality time with our friends and family, without our phones. Let us be role models for our children. If you have not seen the video of the poem ‘Look Up‘ then please do – it is a reminder to all of us that there are times “we should look up from our phones. We are all guilty of being part of this digital world where we are heard, but not seen, where we type and don’t talk and we read as we chat, where we spent time together without making eye contact. Give people your love, don’t give them your ‘like’.”