Do you worry about your children and Internet safety? Ever thought what Romeo and Juliet would look like in the digital age? Well, some things like young love and children never change, but the world around them does and this fab thought provoking film highlights how things might look for the star-crossed lovers today.
Talking to kids about Internet Safety
Social media may have changed the way we all communicate, especially young people, but their curiosity about sex, love and relationships has remained the same. Flirtation, excitement and hormones are a powerful mix and add into that technology and you have a real issue for kids today.
Whether it be nude selfies or easy access to pornography, children today really have think about their actions and consider the possible consequences, much more than any other generation.
According to research by the Child Protection and Online Exploitation Center having a supportive parent or carer can make all the difference in helping a young person learn to stay safe, but talking to your child about sex, relationships and the internet can be daunting.
Which is why they have a wealth of information and resources available at Thinkuknow.co.uk, not just for parents, but also for kids of all ages. So why not watch the modern day Romeo and Juliet together with your kids and use it as a starting point for an ongoing conversation.
How to keep kids safe online
- My biggest tip is to engage in conversation with your children from an early age. Make sure it is age appropriate and do not just have one off conversations about it. I talk to my boys about the internet all the time. It is part of our conversations. Talk about what is and isn’t appropriate and what they need to do if they come across things they are unsure of.
- Be vigilant – I monitor what I can and the kids know this. We have age-appropriate parental controls in place and they do not know any of the passwords. Boundaries are often seen as restrictive and draconian by kids. But boundaries also bring freedom. They provide a clear understanding of what is safe and secure. Boundaries tell them where they are free to explore and roam.
- Know the risks. Make sure you keep up to date with current apps and trends. An older teen is often a wealth of information about what is hot right now and why. Educate yourself and your children. Use apps and the internet together from an early age.
- Apply standards you adopt offline to the online world’. If you wouldn’t do it face to face, then do not do it online. You do not give out your name to random people in the street, so do not do it online. My kids have online pseudonyms and their names are not in their email addresses either. Teens need to remember that everything they do over the web is captured forever and could come back to haunt them. Many employers and university admissions offices look at social media profiles when researching candidates.
My boys are 10 and 11 and how they interact with the Web and via what channels is constantly changing. One month they are all playing a game and using the in message capabilities, the next they are back to using Instagram as a group messaging device. They are both tech savvy and their interaction with the internet is dynamic and ever changing.
So we have purposefully made sure that we talk about anything and everything. This means that when they see sexual content on the web, which is inevitable, that rather than wondering about what it all means, we talk about it. The rights and the wrongs, what it all means.
How do you go about keeping your kids safe online? How old are they and what apps and access do they have? What conversations do you have with them about being safe online?
Kids nowadays are exposed to serious risk when it comes to using the Web. It takes some serious amount of tact and delicacy to convince them that it could be very dark place, hiding many dangers sometimes. What’s most important, however, is to convince your kids that they should keep the balance between caution and curiosity.
Super important issue Jen!
I try to make sure that my two are as sensible as possible and that they realise that once something’s out there then it’s out there. Also that the written word may not come across the same as if you were saying out loud. It’s often harsher in writing even when they don’t mean it to be x
My 10 year daughter came home and said her supply teacher asked her class how to use Whatspp as she had just downloaded it! My daughter was appalled and told me that primary school children shouldn’t be using apps like that anyway! I guess I have a year of innocence left with her!
There is a lot to be aware of these days and kids can potentially access porn or hate sites without even leaving their bedroom (which I why I block access to certain keywords at the router level) but I think as long as we keep ourselves up to date as parents, to be aware of what can happen, we are doing the best for our kids. Great post Jen!
I agree with broaching the subject early on and also letting them experiment. That way you still have their attention – rather than a teen who really doesn’t want to listen!
Some great tips. Thanks for sharing. My daughter is 10 and I do worry about internet safety.
We recently had an issue with son playing a playstation game online and chatting to other players. It wasn’t something I was aware that particular game could do. Needless to say settings were instantly changed. School have also done some workshops for both parents & kids which were helpful.
Fabulous tips Jen! Thank you so much for your great advice! Will be pinning this!
Great tips! It really scares me what is available online nowadays. I’m always looking for more ways to protect them.
We are very strict with parental controls and its scary how quickly they can find inappropriate material out there
Totally vagree about broaching things early … with anything. We’re quite relaxed although they are not allowed to down load any apps without us and so in that respect we control what they use. We haven’t put any control on things they can access via google etc we just talk all the time as a family re-enforcing what is and isn’t good practice