Growing up with 24-hour access to information is a recent enough revelation in Ireland and many parents are still unsure what boundaries should be in place for their children when it comes to having a safe life online.
The internet is a great resource but with tablets, phones and gaming consoles in children’s bedrooms, the home, once a place of safety is no longer off limits from bullies.
For parents, it’s important to know what each device you give your child is capable of.
Know the applications they are using, and who they are communicating with. For younger children and teens, make sure they know you will be checking the device often. Continuous learning on the adults’ part for a safe online experience is key.
Talk to your child about new technology and apps, what they are used for and what fun stuff you can do with them. Get the child to demonstrate the app for you too so you can gain an understanding of how they use it.
Important rules for children online:
- Never give out your personal details online, these include your real name, address, age, school or phone number.
- Set your profiles to private or that only your friends can see them.
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you do not know offline. Even if you have mutual friends.
- Never check-in “at home” or announce when you are going on holidays.
- Never give out your password to anyone online.
- Remember nothing is really private, people can screenshot posts before you delete them.
And most importantly always remember that everyone likes to put their best selves online.
Everything you see on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat or Twitter may not really represent how someone else lives or feels. Facebook envy and pressure to fit in is a real thing.