Online safety for children & young people

A changing world

For people of a certain age, the internet is a revelation. Gone are the days of having no other choice than buying a reference book or borrowing one from the library. You can have answers to questions in seconds and find a topic, collect information and even if it is on the other side of the world, you can now load up google earth and look at it.

For the 20 & 30 something generation, the internet is something they have quietly mastered but they still remember a lot of how it was before the World Wide Web.

And the 10-20’s? They have never really known life without the internet; it is matter-of-fact an accessible resource, posting your life online is as second nature as is creating videos and sharing them. The dangers surrounding childhood now are a world away from what they were 30 years ago. So how do we protect our children and young people in this age of technology? When a click of the mouse can lead them to see things we much preferred they didn’t?

 

What does research tell us?

According to the UK Advertising Standards Authority study in 2013, 83% of 11 to 15 year olds were using social media sites with false ages, and that was only the internet activity actively being monitored. By any standards that is a worrying statistic. Where we used to have the watershed on television, there is no such control in place online. Instead, it really does come down to parental responsibility; with some children being highly computer literate it is inevitable that problems will arise.

 

Is there a solution?

So what can you do to help? It’s always good to talk to your children, as soon as they are old enough to understand, about protecting private information. Make sure you find a way to talk about internet safety in a comfortable way so that they are more likely to tell you if anything should happen to upset them. Limit online communication and always monitor and try to make sure the computer is placed in an open location. Check the history, if necessary, to monitor which sites have been accessed. Most importantly of all, make sure that your child’s time is managed, balance online life with real life as much as possible. Childhood is so brief, make sure they get chance to play and be free to experience the world outside windows.

Turn on filtering and security features within search engines. Make sure that security is set to high in browsers and also see if any programs that are accessed on a regular basis can be made secure, like Facebook for example. When it comes to browser settings you can take advantage of Microsoft’s inbuilt security features.

Like all things, it is mainly common sense and simple parenting that will provide online safety for children and young people, but it is always worth keeping up to date with latest trends. Keep checking the Nybble Blog for updates and snippets.

Posted by Jill Wells 22/10/15

Further reading:

The NSPCC has some excellent information and tips: http://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/talking-your-child-staying-safe-online/

Interesting article on Toddlers and Technology by Childwise Research Manager Jenny Ehren: http://www.childwise.co.uk/blog

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