For some parents, using the internet can be as scary as walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon on a windy day. Some people get a complete mental block about using sites and either feel like they need to do a course or find someone to help them navigate sites…just incase they cause the computer to explode! It is very much based around a fear of the unknown. Many people didn’t get a chance to grips with the internet as it was evolving and have now almost resigned themselves to the fact that they just don’t know how to use it and that’s that.
Children and young people, on the other hand, embrace the internet like it’s their best friend! There is absolutely no fear factor and they feel so confident that they will accept any new popular sites and learn as they go. They delve into nearly all nooks and crannies of sites they enjoy (many of these being social media outlets), until they figure out how it works and then off they go into cyberspace to discover the world.
Both of these attitudes have created a sense of growing distance between some parents and children resulting in parents relying on media outlets to inform them of the “dangerous” sites that can cause their children harm, while at the same time, almost providing a road map for young people to explore a new site they shouldn’t. Well here’s the good news parents, it doesn’t have to be like this and there are a number of really helpful sites out there that can help you learn and understand all about the sites your children use every day (see the list below!).
How we access the internet is constantly changing and, as parents, it’s important to be aware of how your children are using the internet on a daily basis. We’ve progressed from a big bulking computer and monitor in the corner of the kitchen to having the ability to access the internet via tablets and phones and using glasses is just around the corner…who knows where this will lead us next!
With all this in mind, online bullying has become a real and tangible issue for both young and old alike. Whereas, years ago bullying was generally confined to outside the child’s door, with the ever expanding use of technology, we have unintentionally opened our front door and invited bullying into the home. As parents we can’t completely prevent our children from going online, and it’s important to not scaremonger your children about the internet but it is important to discuss with them how they can keep themselves safe while online, just as you would teach them about road safety or stranger danger.
So what can parents do. We have created a short information sheet for both parents and teens to keep safe online which can be downloaded below.
Tips for Kids
Tips for Parents
Download our Online Safety – Tips for Parents
Useful sites for parents:
So don’t be scared of the internet, that expensive tablet you bought isn’t going to blow up in your hands if you access a Manchester United supports site (well maybe it will!), and like we consistently say, communication with your child is the key.
If you have any concerns about your child’s internet use, or wish to book some internet safety coaching sessions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.