Saturday, 28 February 2015

Protecting Your Children Online

Protecting your children online is vitally important, and two areas which I feel strongly about are bullying and access to inappropriate images online.

Bullying will always exist in schools, colleges and in the work place and it is the responsibility of these organisations to keep their students and employees safe. As a parent we also have a responsibility to keep our children safe too and therefore I feel it is important to have conversations with your children about bullying.

When I was in school I was bullied because I wore glasses in the days when it wasn't cool to wear glasses. I was also mature for my age, being tall at the age of 10. It's a sad fact that bullies pick on anyone that is slightly different in any way. As a parent we need to tell children what to do if they are bullied and help them stick up for themselves, without making it worse.

With the advent of technology comes a different type of bullying - online bullying, in a recent survey by My Voucher Codes, Tech Lounge commented that 58% percent of parents were extremely worried about online bullying, whilst 49% were worried about access to adult content.


Do you know what is happening to your child online?

Image MNStudio Shutterstock

While parents were concerned about bullying online, access to adult content and sharing inappropriate images, the majority were not worried about their children running up huge bills on their tablets and smartphones.

So what can you do to protect your children online? The Internet is not the devil and is part of daily life today so being open and honest with your children is important so they feel they can come to you if they feel at risk online.

If a child is being bullied online it's important that the child speaks up, so create an atmosphere of trust so they can come and tell you or a responsible adult, like a teacher. Each social network is different but teach the child how to report bullying online if it does happen by blocking and reporting the person.

Teaching self respect is also vitally important, as every parent knows and it can be embarrassing talking to children about sex, but a chat in age appropriate language can help prevent them getting into awkward situations, such as sharing inappropriate images of themselves online or via a mobile phone. Teaching children about their digital footprint, and that what they share online can be around for years to come, is also extremely important. Never share anything online that you don't want your parents or friends seeing now or in the future.

If your children are of primary age I think it's a good idea not to allow them to have access to the Internet out of your sight. That is a simple way of monitoring what is going on.



Image Monkey Business Images Shutterstock

Service providers can block adult content and parental control software such as Net Nanny can manage time spent online, block pornography, and monitor social media.

There are a variety of sites that can also help. Childline has a very good section on protecting children online and with mobile use. Think You Know is another great site run by the National Crime Agency, which covers sex, relationships and the Internet and offers advice to teenagers on what to do in uncomfortable situations. BullyingUK also has an excellent website with lots of help and advice.

Tell me how do you help protect your children online?

* I have written this as I have an interest in technology and prevention of bullying, all words and opinions are my own.
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20 comments

  1. Fantastic post. Both of my sons are keen iPad users. they like playing pixel gun and minecraf, watching youtube and Netflix. I currently give them the freedom to use these sites as they have no interest in social media sites. I've managed to put the parental block on. However with YouTube some bad language slips through. But I'm always close by listening to what they are doing. So thank you I will investigate the other sites you've mentioned. They will come in very handy.
    I too was bullied in primary school. My mum is Bolivian and I have Polish surname, School life in late 70s for 4yo were horrible. When my sons started school I explained as best I could that being horrible to someone isn't nice and vice versa. So far so good. As they get older I hope we have relationship to can talk to me if things go bad, need advice and we can get things right together.
    I remember telling my dad I was getting picked on in secondary school. He went berserk and started teaching me to fight. After having a heated talk with the school.
    Online bulling is disgusting, keyboard wizards giving it the large, face to face I sure they wouldn't have the guts.
    Thanks Mellissa. Xx

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    1. It's so important to be close by with young children, as you say bad language can slip through on Youtube. Parental blocks as so important with the young too.
      Sorry to hear about your experience in school.
      With the lack of face to face communication bullying is easier than ever, as parents it's vitally important to let your children know that you are there for them and that they can go to you if they are bullied.

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  2. I'm a School Governor and we work very hard to ensure our pupils are as safe as possible. We have strong filters in place and extra safety aspects, such as an icon that the children can click if something should get through, like an inappropriate image or something they are not comfortable with. It covers up the screen with a reassuring message while they wait for an adult to sort it out. It's not something that I think happens often, but it's good to know shcools take it seriously. We also educate on what constitutes online bullying, alongside other forms of bullying. I think this especially important, because there are far too many cases of adults resorting to bullying online, so we need to ensure that our young people realise it's wrong and learn to respect each other online. I worry constantly about my son being online, particularly since he's a huge Minecraft fan and desperately wants to interact with other players. I think the best thing we can do as parents is learn as much as we can about the games our children are playing and familiarise ourselves with all the aspects that could present a safety hazard, adding in controls where possible. Knowledge is power.

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    1. I like the idea of self reported inappropriate images. Self respect is vitally important too and I agree it is a great idea to familiarise yourself with the games your children are playing

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  3. Great post, technology and life go hand in hand these days and that includes for kids too!

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  4. Great post, you've shared some good points on how to keep children safe online x

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  5. Great post. With bullying it's really important to get kids to stand up for themselves. With online bullying it's a good idea to educate them that they can deal with these bullies by blocking the people involved. x

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think it is important for children to stand up for themselves without making it worse.

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  6. Very nice post.
    You shared some very important points here to keep you children safe online.
    Trust building is the most important thing and to provide your children a good and friendly environment so that they can share their issue with you freely.
    Keep sharing good posts.

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  7. Appreciated post!
    You discuss some useful points regarding the safety of children.
    Primary age children does not have the direct access to internet. Also we should keep an on eye on their activities and asking about their problems and provide them a good learning and freely atmosphere.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. An open atmosphere where your children feel they can talk to you is very important.

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  8. Fantastic post my little boy is only 2 but I know will have this to come, and will need to be very careful the internet is a scary world.

    Sophie
    xx
    www.pocockins.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We want to wrap our children up and protect them, don't we? Information is key. If they are informed what to do in a situation then they can block the bully or report inappropriate images.

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  9. Although little man is only 5, he really enjoys using the internet and googling everything. It is scary thinking of online dangers, but luckily there are ways of protecting children online and making sure they are safe x

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    1. There are ways to protect them as you say Lilinha The Internet isn't evil, it is full of great information too, we just need to inform and education our children on how to deal with any issues they have online.

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  10. A really interesting post and I think as parents we all worry, especially about technology as it's so easy to not realise your child is being bullied online. I think it's really important like you said to teach self worth and to keep monitoring your childs online use

    Laura x

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    Replies
    1. I think the self worth and self respect aspect often gets overlooked.

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