One of the most important conversation every parent should have with their child is online security and safety. Act for Kids Thomas McIntyre shares some tips on protecting your child from the dangers of the digital world.
1. Secure your digital devices with passcodes
Children are getting more technical savvy than adults. They have access to smartphones, tablets, computers, and game consoles and they can get their way around a device very easily. The first thing parents can do is to secure these digital devices by:
• Restricting household devices’ search terms, privacy settings and implement filtering systems
• Checking who has the ability to share material with your child
2. Supervise children online and monitor the material they are accessing
Whilst there are heaps of third-party apps available to keep their online environment safe, parental supervision is still key in keeping your children safe from online predators and other cyber threats.
Parents must ensure they have access to all apps, social media accounts, and websites their children use to communicate with their friends and unknown users in the online community.
Online predators are lurking everywhere so it won’t hurt to follow these simple guidelines:
• Identify specific locations for internet use within the home; keeping devices in a shared family area
• Regularly check their privacy settings and internet search limitations
• Limit daily screen time
• Establish what may be identified as inappropriate posts on online profiles
3. Sit down and have an open conversation with your child about the material they may see online.
“Have a conversation with your children about what they are looking at online and have a relationship where they can say they’ve actually come across a material they didn’t understand,” said Mr McIntyre.
“Parents are the best person to do that and help them understand what the material might be about.”
When you talk to your child, here are a few things to bear in mind.
• Less is more – have multiple short chats and discussions
• Discuss consensual relationships and the difference between reality and fantasy (e.g. real-life relationships V pornographic fantasy)
• Be open about expectations to create boundaries and to build trust
September 1-7 is Child Protection Week