We all know that it isn’t safe, but what can we do about it?
Children are often the light of our lives, so when they spend most of their lives illuminated by the light of a computer screen it is only natural to worry. We are no longer in simple. To them, libraries are no longer sufficient- they are boring and unfashionable.
It’s not only school work- it seems that half of their social life is within that screen- for everyone to see.
We can’t stop them from doing this, but we can try to make it safer.
Children give away far too much information without even realizing it; in personal profiles, contest applications and in building their own websites.
These tasks seem innocent enough, but it means that your address, telephone number and other important details could now be available to ’spam companies’.
Make your children aware that you don’t want your address known to the whole of cyberspace – make sure they only use reputable websites, tick the boxes that say you don’t want further messages and make sure what a child puts on his or her profile is a bare minimum, that doesn’t allow a stranger to know where they live or any other similar information.
Check websites that list scams, spam and virus reports like ThreatRoll.com.
75% of 9-19 year olds now have access to the internet at home.
It is normal for your child to be on there, it is a natural progression in the technology of today and it would be unfair to remove them from this inevitable movement because of fear.
But there is reason for this concern, 33% of 9-19 year olds have received unwanted sexual comments and not told their parents.
So how can you make sure that this doesn’t happen with your own child?
Make sure they are aware that you trust them- it’s not their fault that there are bad people on the internet and therefore you shouldn’t punish them. Let them know that anything they report back to you will be reported either to the police, the website or another appropriate figure.
Let them know that this ‘incident’ will not take away allowed internet time because that is often what makes the children hide things from you- the fear that if you knew something bad happened you wouldn’t trust their ability to protect themselves and not allow them to use the computer any more which nowadays, is an important part of their social interaction.
Do not underestimate their own knowledge, they have grown up with this technology and therefore naturally, have a good understanding of it. However, sometimes they may need reminding, here are a few tips to drop into the conversation:
- If you post a picture online- anyone can save it, change it or post it on, they could even use it as their own.
- Some people lie online- how could you tell their not?
- Don’t open files from people you don’t know- they could contain anything.
It is good to have an open, honest relationship with your children. In theory, if you have this then you should be able to browse their history and social networking freely but in reality, children may find this invasion of privacy a very negative thing and it may push them further into secrecy.
Be subtle, and if refrain from doing it completely, the trust and bond between you and your child can only grow.
Most importantly, let your children know that you are cautious for their benefit, because you care and you are worried.
They may find it annoying, but in the long run- it’s better safe then sorry, ey?