SAFEGUARDING: ENSURING YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY WHEN USING THE INTERNET

ENSURING YOUR CHILD’S SAFETY

As society becomes more tech-obsessed, young children are becoming increasingly adept at using technology and can often be seen playing on an iPad or using a mobile phone – but how can we protect our children from harmful information on the web?

We cannot escape digital technology…it is everywhere and has fast become an important part of everyday life for most people. In the workplace it is integral for fast and effective communication, however, younger ages also use technology on a daily basis to connect with friends and family via social media.

Even very young children now utilise the internet as a virtual playground to learn, play and create and this is breeding a society in which the younger generation are more able with computers than their elders. However, content is sometimes too readily available online and people need to ensure that their children are being protected from harmful or indecent content.

1.      PARENTAL CONTROLS

Parents need to ensure they set parental controls on all devices so that inappropriate material is blocked from children’s usage. Please remember that the words children may search are all done innocently, however, even the most innocent of searches can render explicit results. Parental controls are the best way of preventing such material becoming available to your child an they allow you to plan when your child goes online and how long for, including downloading inappropriate apps.

2. TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT STAYING SAFE

Talk to your child about the dangers of using the internet and holding an open discussion is always very helpful as children can freely ask questions. Parents can also ask children if there is anything they have seen online that has made them uncomfortable. Parents can also teach children to report or block material which they feel is not right.

3. ENCOURAGE THEM TO ASK QUESTIONS

Children should feel like they can ask questions to their parents rather than referring to the internet for all the answers and thus encouraging parents to sit down with their children and engage in a conversation about the internet is a positive thing.

4.  DISCUSS SHARING PERSONAL INFORMATION

Sharing personal information over the internet can be harmful as birth dates and location can help identity where a child is living. Children should also be educated not to divulge their email addresses, phone number or other personal information and if a website does ask a child for information, a parent’s authorisation should be provided first.

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