You’re in the car with your 9-year-old and her precociously tech-savvy friend.
The friend - let’s call her Evie - is bubbling over with stories about her favourite social media app.
Your child is not allowed to have this app, for very good reasons. Maybe it's a notorious hang-out for predators. Maybe it's full of adult content, or promotes gun violence or other values you oppose.
How do you handle it? Should you speak to Evie’s parents?
For some expert advice, we asked Family Zone cyber expert Pete Brown of educational consultancy Cyber Safety Teacher.
I think in reality most of us would prefer to ignore the situation and hope it would go away. I know I would. But I also know as a parent of three kids 13, 17 and 19 this is something I’ve had to face up myself.
I think my advice would be: be honest and open. You could always start with ‘hey, I am a little worried about what Evie said the other day.’ But I also wouldn’t blame the child for making a mistake. As a teacher, I’ve learned that parents really dislike that. (I wonder why?!)
I would mention something like ‘Evie and Ella were talking about Fortnite/Snapchat/Instagram/TikTok the other day. I’m not sure they really know what goes on on social media or what you can stumble upon.’
I find that allowing the parents to come to the conclusion is far better than making out that their child is the worst kid in the world. Again, parents don’t want to hear that.
In teaching, a common skill is to give the child a high point and then mention an improvement. This works wonders on building self esteem, resilience and personal reflection. This works well with adults to. For example:
‘I love hearing the kids chat about what they get up to, they are so energetic and funny when they talk about their games and apps. The other day though they seemed to be fixated on [...]. Did you know...?’
This will allow the other parent to think, act, respond
Do you agree? Would you take a different approach? Join in the conversation on our Facebook page!
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