We have been living in a digital age for quite a while now and it is something that I am going to have to get used to and accept as the norm. Whilst it is the norm and a fantastic resource that definitely can make life simpler, quicker and cheaper there are still many hazards that needs navigating.
One area I want to highlight is staying safe online. As parents, we have an obligation to our children to keep them safe. If you are going to give them a device that is capable of sending images or information on the digital highway – then you need to be in that car with them.
A learner driver needs to log 120hours of practical driving experience under the supervision of an adult in all kinds of conditions before they can apply for their licence. Unfortunately, there are many children/young people who have access to the internet and mobile data, remain unsupervised for hours at a time and potentially preyed upon by people pretending to be someone they are not.
Below are 10 non-negotiables that should be in place so that your kids can build healthy online habits.
- Do not post any personal information online – like your address, email address or mobile number.
- Think carefully before posting pictures or videos of yourself. Once you have put a picture of yourself online most people can see it and may be able to download it, it’s not just yours anymore.
- Keep your privacy settings as high as possible
- Never give out your passwords
- Don’t befriend people you don’t know
- Do not meet up with people you’ve met online. Speak to your parent or carer about people suggesting you do
- Remember that not everyone online is who they say they are
- Think carefully about what you say before you post something online
- Respect other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with someone else’s views doesn’t mean you need to be rude
- If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.
Any rule that you have in place is only as good as the supervision it is given. While that are ‘surfing the net’ you need to be shoulder surfing and ensuring that what they are looking at or sending is appropriate – not all the time but at least randomly. As a final heads up, this is easiest to do when they are in a public family space and not their bedrooms. Bedrooms are for sleeping.