Before the Internet, parents felt that they had some control of who their children communicated with. Many houses had one phone and parents felt confident that they knew who their children were talking to.
The web has changed this and parents find it difficult to keep track of the multiple accounts and Apps that their child is using. The development of technology means that children and young people can easily speak to strangers and access inappropriate content.
This is why digital parenting is such an important skill today as children need to be given rules about how much ‘screen time’ they are allowed in a day, what type of Apps they are allowed to download and most importantly the risks of talking to people online.
There is often an argument that children and young people are ‘digitally savvy’ and that they can run circles around their parents when it comes to technology. This may be true with many families, however they do lack the life experience and wisdom that makes them more vulnerable to potential grooming by others on the Internet.
So what can parents do? In the first instance, it is important that they communicate with their children about what they are doing on the Internet. Children cannot be monitored 24/7and as they grow older into their teenage years, there has to be an element of trust and independence, so that if something did happen, then they would be able to tell their parents.
Secondly, parents need to upscale their knowledge and look at sites which help them to filter and put parental controls on devices. On Christmas morning, after the presents have been opened, children will ask how you work certain toys and parents will look at the instruction booklet for help. As many devices don’t specifically come with advice on parental controls, this is where sites such as http://www.internetmatters.org/ comes in handy to look at setting controls on specific devices.
Finally, we must try and teach our children the rules about being safe when using technology and the Internet. When they are very young, we highlight safe ways to cross the road and to be careful near deep water. In the digital age, this now must be extended to enjoying the Internet, but doing it in a safe way.
Coming Soon: Our new parent online training course will be available soon. The new course will look at how children and young people use technology and the Internet, develop parent knowledge and understanding of the digital world and support them in becoming a better ‘digital parents’. Log into your E-safety Support dashboard to preview the existing staff and governor training courses and to check for product updates.