Although the Internet is a great resource of information, it can be damaging to our children. Here are some online safety tips for your child.
“What goes online, stays online”
One of the most important messages to repeatedly instill in a child; On the internet, you can’t take things back… Once they post something or share something it is released into the net and is immediately saved somewhere & then potentially shared by others resulting in it reaching anyone, at any time, and potentially being raised later in their professional lives. So many lives have been ruined and so many careers jeopardized by a silly post, an insult or even a private message.
Obey age limits:
Facebook has an age limit of 13, but no way to police it because children can lie when they create an account. The onus is on the parent to understand that social media platforms (like Facebook) do have rules for a reason and these should be understood and complied with.
Be “friends” with your kids:
If your children are on social media, insist that they add you as friends with FULL access to their Facebook timeline or Twitter feed so that you are aware of what they are posting and can continuously help them with their online persona and discuss with them what they choose to share about their life. An important point here is to be sure that you yourself understand the privacy settings of the platform… Particularly tech savvy kids (read; teenagers) will add you as a friend but then put you on a “limited” profile by changing their security settings so that you can only see certain things. It is so important to have complete knowledge of what pictures your children are sharing.
Create Ground Rules
All families have rules in their household, but how many have rules that govern computer and internet usage? An excellent source of information is The Family Online Safety Institute(FOSI) which encourages parents and kids to have an open discussion about what these rules mean, and offers some excellent training information and documentation to help with this.
Keep the Computer in a Central Location
This is a winner in my personal opinion and one that we sometimes see in our clients homes. Whether it’s the study next to Mom & Dad or the family room, if that’s an option… the important distinction is that it is somewhat public in the house and a child understands that other family members are always around. This will naturally force them to be a little more responsible in their browsing behaviour. Keeping a computer in a private room can open the child to some dangers as they will have no restrictions on where they go or what they see.
Limit Cell Phone Use
Some of the above rules have absolutely no use if your child is accessing all their social media via their phone and constantly have their phone with them. If you are a parent, then you remember when a cell phone was simply a tool to allow you to talk to someone. Now your child can be speaking to the whole world, or a group, or sharing images & video with a single person in real time. If you are paying their data bill then they have unfettered access to anyone. There are ways to control data use, both on the phone itself as well as by having a budget that they must stick to when buying data. Get one family contract and keep track of ALL data usage by each child to get better insight. Limit time they are allowed on social media with the phone.
Written by Aaron Thornton, co-founder of Dial a Nerd.
Originally appeared in the Star Education Supplement 2016 you can access the article here:
Be weary of posting pictures of you child online
We all love sharing our memories with our friends. Unfortunately with social media and the internet this also can open up the doors to human traffickers and even pedophiles. As much as the thought disgusts us, we have to be vigilant and aware of our privacy settings. Check if you have geo-locate enabled, and only post pics after you been to the venue. Stalkers and criminals may be watching you online. You have to have your Social Media setting private and not public.
For more info, you can access this PDF here.