Safer Internet Day 2016: The Importance Of Teaching Your Child About E-Safety

Safer Internet Day 2016: The Importance Of Teaching Your Child About E-Safety

A Guide To Protecting Your Child From The Dangers Of The Internet

Safer Internet Day 2016

On the 9th of February every year, Safer Internet Day helps bring people around the world together to discuss global e-safety. Professionals and regular internet users alike will share their experiences, good and bad, in the hope that they can equip everyone with the tools they need to stay safe online.

Most parents give their children great advice about avoiding the potentially harmful aspects of the internet. However, the internet is a vast new world that many parents admit to not knowing as well as their children do! In this context, Safer Internet Day is a useful way for parents to broaden their knowledge on the subject.

Understanding E-Safety — What Does It Mean?

E-safety is an understanding of the potential dangers of the internet — the aspects of it that could cause harm, and what is the best way to react to these situations. For example, your child is very likely to communicate with complete strangers while playing online games, which is not necessarily a problem unless they become a victim of cyberbullying or naively give out their personal information. With the right e-safety knowledge, children can better understand the dangers of releasing personal information, as well as how to recognise unethical behaviours or prevent cyberbullying.

Why is E-Safety So Important?

The internet is a huge part of our lives. Whichever way you look at it, it has grown to influence every nook and cranny of our society and the way that our “children engage with information”. Our parents used to warn us about ‘stranger danger’, now we teach our children the same lessons, but for a huge, ever-evolving environment. Our young people enjoy spending time on the internet and interacting with their friends and peers online, but this also means that cyberbullying and other online problems can be particularly hurtful.

How To Help

In this section, we want to help adults to understand the internet better. As highlighted before, this is a key area that parents must work if they want to help their child use the internet safely.

We realise that for some people the internet can seem a scary place, and while your child enjoys surfing the web for hours on end, you’d rather read a book or watch television. Obviously, you have time-consuming responsibilities that your child does not, but there are simple ways that you can learn more about the internet.

Firstly, if you have young children, try and set up the family computer in the room you spend the most time. This allows you to monitor your child’s internet use and talk to your child about what they are doing while they are on the internet. Young children usually enjoy having a parent take an interest in what they are doing online. Try to find some time to explore the internet with your child, let them show you what they like online and what they are doing.

The most important way that you can both help your child and learn more about the internet is through communication. Have regular conversations with your children about the internet, how they feel about harmful content or simple things like which YouTube video is their current favourite. When it comes to that awkward conversation about online pornography, remember that children become aware of sexual content younger than you might realise. While the average age that a child is exposed to porn is fourteen (sometimes by accident but often as a result of a normal curiosity about sex), it’s not unusual for younger children to see such content online or elsewhere. With this in mind, try having that conversation sooner rather than later, to help prepare them for what they are likely to see online.

If you’d like to learn more about protecting children online, how children and adults use technology, and its associated risks, then look no further!

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