Keeping your kids safe online

Teaching our children sun and road safety is something we just automatically do as parents. It must have been covered in one of the parenting manuals we were given in the maternity ward!

But unfortunately, according to our partner McAfee, the ‘how-to’ guides haven’t stayed abreast of the meteoric rise of the internet leaving many parents unsure how to navigate the newest parenting frontier – cybersafety.

As a generation of parents, we have had to negotiate the unchartered waters of the World Wide Web. We have had to establish rules and messages around internet safety whilst trying to learn about the cyberworld for ourselves.

And let’s be honest – it can be overwhelming. Whilst our offspring are first generation digital natives with technology running through their veins, most of us feel like we are constantly playing ‘catch-up’.

So, here are my top 5 tips to help you embrace cybersafety and keep your kids safe online…

1.    Get Involved in Your Child’s Online World
Join the sites and social media platforms that your child uses. Research from McAfee entitled Tweens, Teens and Technology shows that 67% of tweens (8-12 year olds) use social media including Skype, Facebook, Club Penguin and Instagram. Not only will you generate a little ‘tech cred’ with your kids, but they will more likely to come to you if there is a problem.

2.    Talk To Your Tech Savvy Child
Remember that your tech savvy child can’t physically understand risk until their early twenties! So, talk to your child about what they do online (calmly) and ensure they know to come to you if there is a problem. NEVER threaten total disconnection from the Internet as you won’t hear anything!

3.    Set Rules Together
Work with your child to set limits for time allowed online. Remember too many restrictions can make it even more appealing. Discuss what information your child should and shouldn’t share online. The Secret Life of Teens by McAfee showed that 68% of teens had shared personal information online – a big NO-NO!

4.    Educate Your Child Just As You Would In The Offline World
Teach your children about the importance of online manners and respect. Remember the golden rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!’ Talk about technology safety just like you talk about road and sun safety. 

5.    Get Technology Working For You
Consider using parental controls. Also, ensure your security software is comprehensive, up-to-date and is able to protect you against viruses, spyware and hackers.

So, next time you are having a family meal why not share your favourite Instagram post with your kids or discuss a slightly ‘dodgy’ picture that one of your Facebook friends uploaded. Before you know it, the communication will be flowing and they’ll be coming to you for tips!

Fun activity to do at home

If you want to spend some quality time with your child while reinforcing safe online behaviour, download this 'Chatterbox' and play along!