For some, their children are already more advanced than them and for others, they’re tasked with introducing their child to something they don’t fully understand. Whilst the internet can be a scary place full of risks and dangers, it’s also a wonderful source of knowledge – so keeping kids safe online without hindering their learning can be a challenge.
Making the decision to protect your children online is an easy one, but making it happen takes cooperation from your kids. Cyber Expert Jordan Foster from ySafe has shared her insights on how to start the conversation on eSafety with your family.
1. Do your research
‘The first step in discussing eSafety with your kids is to educate yourself first’ says Jordan, ‘there are many brilliant eSafety resources available online including the iParent website from the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner and the Family Zone weekly blog’. Both sites include information on current online risks, dangerous or unsafe apps and helpful advice from online safety experts.
2. Start conversations early, but remember it’s never too late to start
‘As soon as your child starts using connected devices, they should be familiar with the concept of access routines and boundaries. Make a big deal of limits around intervals and time of day’ she explains. ‘As they grow and start to use social media, the conversation will need to focus more on stranger danger and cyber safety. For older children already well versed in technology, it’s never too late it's never too late to discuss how their social media habits and online behaviour can impact them. Remind them that what they post online stays online’.
3. Have regular conversations
‘Find regular opportunities to discuss cyber safety with your children. During family dinner times, upon buying them a new device or when they’re using their devices’ says Jordan. It’s important to constantly reinforce the message of cyber safety, especially with younger children. Jordan also suggests taking the time to have a family discussion as you learn about new risks or information from suggested resources. ‘Topical conversations about new risks or dangerous apps as informed by the media, iParent website or the Family Zone blog will resonate with kids. When a dangerous app becomes popular, there’s a chance one of your children might be using it. Like Musical.ly for example’ she says.
4. Establish family boundaries and rules
Creating rules and boundaries as a family is the best way forward. ‘I find parents often want to ban social media altogether upon learning more about the risks involved, but it’s hard to do that without impacting your child’s social development’ says Jordan. By agreeing to boundaries and rules you’re able to meet your child in the middle and discuss what is reasonable and appropriate use of the internet and their devices.
Constantly reinforcing the message of cyber safety goes a long way to creating good habits and behaviour in kids, but to protect them completely you’ll need parental controls. Installing Family Zone on your kids’ devices provides complete protection from inappropriate content plus social media restriction and screen time management. Protection also includes the support of a range of Cyber Experts including Jordan Foster from ySafe.
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