Tips for parents on safe net use
Children need adults, even online. Parents have a unique chance to give children good attitudes and safe limits around their net use. Read Kids and Media’s advice for parents.
Game playing, chatting, homework and downloading of software are the main activities online for children and young people, and most of the time their experiences are good. They are active and innovative users of media: They explore the net, they create contents and give direct and honest response to the world around them. Many young people have good computer knowledge, however many young users also need to train their computer attitudes. Wise, safe and positive net use are central keywords, and parents have a unique opportunity to teach good attitudes and limits.
Youth are getting more and more aware about dangers online, and more critical to the contents they meet. At the same time some choose to put themselves at potential risk through their choices online, for example through publishing pictures, bullying or exposure of personal information. Few children and young people speak with adults about uncomfortable experiences online, and parents are often the last people they go to for help. Fear of restrictions that can limit their access to the Internet or mobile phones are important reasons why kids don’t talk with their parents about unsettling experiences.
Kids and Media’s advice for parents:
Knowledge and involvement
Seek knowledge so you can guide, be inquisitive. You can use your child as a resource for learning, and explore the net together. Help your child develop a critical sense to sources. Not everything online is necessarily healthy or true. Show interest – don’t let the computer and Internet become zones where the child is left on their own. You can use Kids and Media’s net advice as starting points for conversations about safe net use.
Cultivate healthy attitudes in your child, and underline that the same rules for positive and wise behaviour that we follow in analogue situations should also apply online and for mobile use. Help your child to develop a healthy critical sense when it comes to which web pages to visit. Talk together about what you think of sites with negative or adult contents. Be clear about what you think.
Be in control of time and place – dare to put restrictions on your child’s use and access to the Internet. If you wish to check the net log to see which sites have been visited, be advised to do this together with the child.
Put the computer in a common area if this is practically possible. Then it’s easier for parents to be aware, and children will feel more committed to being wise when using the computer. It’ll also be easier to discover situations where your child has negative experiences. Be clear about boundaries if children and young people get access to a PC or web camera in their own rooms: give trust and responsibility.
Invite your child to talk
Invite your child to talk with you if they have bad experiences. Many kids and young people wish to talk with adults about negative experiences but choose not to, often because of fear of restrictions or reprimands. You can use our net advice as a starting point for conversations with your child about safe and wise behaviour online.
Kids and Media’s net advice for children and young people
- Behave towards others as you wish them to behave towards you.
- Protect your name: make a nickname. NEVER give anyone your password.
- Be careful about giving information about yourself.
- Ask for permission before you publish information about or pictures of others.
- Are you going to meet someone you’ve chatted with in person? Take an adult or a friend.
- Always check who’s published information you find – remember that everyone can publish anything online.
- Think it through before you download free files and contents. There can be virus and spyware together with the files you’re downloading.
- Talk with an adult if you have negative experiences online.
Safety Guide for Parents
This video, from Click - the online guide for parents, shows parents, students and cyber-safety expert, Dr. Martyn Wild discussing the technologies children are using and how to keep them safe online.
Just press the play button at the top of the right hand column, and enjoy the clip!