New School Term – New Opportunity to think how to keep our families safer online
It’s that time of year again, the end of the school holidays is in sight and families are thinking about the September start of the school term. For many children and young people this means going to school in their new school uniform and for some having a new mobile phone. Whilst it can be tempting to post and share photos of key milestones such as your child’s first day at school in their uniform or their first day at secondary school, we also need to be mindful about the personal information we may be unintentionally providing online. This is instead a real opportunity for parents and those working with families to establish or revisit boundaries around phone and social media use, considering what we do and don’t share about our families and to pause and think about who can access it.
Practical Things Parents/Carers Can Do to Protect Their Child Online
1. Make sure you have access to passwords/usernames, accounts and your child’s profile and renegotiate this on a regular basis
2. Get on board with technology – it can seem daunting learning how to take screenshots, setting up privacy settings on devices or checking out apps our children are using, but there are lots of sites out there to help parents such as the UK Safer Internet Centre who have an advice centre for parents and carers. Learn with your child how to take control over what you share, who with, content and contacts. Establish parental controls on all devices setting up safe settings and content filters. Follow the link at www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers Go to the Think u Know Website on suggestions on how to do this at https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/articles/parental-controls
3. Make sure your privacy settings on Facebook are set to ‘friends only’. If you are unsure on how to do this Google can show you.
4. Negotiate “Friending” your child on social media and be interested in finding out about why they like certain sites and apps.
5. Children may be tech savvy but they still need help navigating the emotional landscape that surrounds the online and offline world and that is where parents/carers play a vital role.
Take a look at our ‘Online Onguard’ leaflet which is a guide to becoming a safer parent online.
Maria Cassidy – NWG Parental Lead