Helping to keep our children safe online has got to be a focus for both parents and teachers. Every day in the news we hear of people – not just celebrities – who are in trouble because of something they have said or posted in an online forum such as Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. Sure the easy way is to block or ban all “nasty” sites, but is that really teaching our children how to live safely in a world which in reality requires us to work in a digital way. Avoiding is not the solution, talking with our young people, helping them to know how to make the right decisions is a much better approach, and will give them skills they can use throughout their lives.
As parents we often don’t know where to start… the kids are “connected” to their phones or computers all the time, how do we know they are safe? Are they creating a positive digital footprint? Will things they post now come back to bite them when they go for job interviews down the track?
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation have developed an eSmart Program to help parents and teachers work together. Where to get started? Being Smart, Safe and Responsible Online is an easy to read brochure which you can read together with your children/young adults, and talk about the risks and responsibilities. As a parent with teenage children I know it is really important to keep these lines of communication open, and happening, so they do make the best choices.
Stay Smart Online – This week is national Cyber security awareness week, and this site has a host of great resources to help you and your family stay safe. Protect Your Children gives some straightforward guidelines to helping to keep your children safe.
CommonSenseMedia offers a wide range of support online, and into your email each week if that is preferred.
Some of my own thoughts about online safety both as a parent and educator, these were from a few years ago now, but still really relevant.
Facebook Security – this guide is a must read for parents, students and educators as a starting point to being safe online.
I would be only to happy to run some parent sessions if there is a need, as a forum for parents to share ideas too. Would love to hear how you help your children, or if you have particular concerns or issues.