I think it’s time I started talking about internet safety
A few months ago I attended a round table event hosted by AVG, where we spoke about online safety and how confident parents felt about dealing with it. As a Technology Consultant in Education I do feel that I have a slight advantage to some parents when it comes to the technical aspects, but I also feel a bit clueless about when I should start addressing it and how I’m going to do it.
How young is too young?
My daughter is nearly 6 and one of my priorities is to keep her as safe as possible online. To date I’ve really only addressed the technical aspects of this, setting restrictions on our ipad, smartphones and we supervise her when she is on the PC but I haven’t delved into actually ‘talking’ to her about the potential dangers of the net as I still think she is a bit young. But I may be wrong.
However, now that she has started reading and writing I think we’ll need to start talking about this ‘very’ soon. I’ve spent a fair amount time looking around the net for guidance and have written about it in the past ‘How to Keep Younger Children Safe Online’. However, the majority of stuff I find is more targeted at slightly older children with reference to chat rooms, grooming and cyber bullying.
Be afraid, be very afraid!
At the meeting, I met Will Gardner the CEO of Childnet International, who spends a large part of his time travelling the country researching and talking to teens/kids about online safety. I was truly horrified by some of the stuff that he’s come across and it’s far too graphic to detail on a family blog. There I was thinking that sexting was simply naughty text messages. Oh boy, was I wrong!
Resources for Keeping Younger Children Safer Online
Following the meeting, as Will was aware I was more interested in resources for younger children, he sent me a couple of really useful resources. They have written a short guidance sheet for parents ‘Keeping Younger Kids Safe Online‘ which is worth a read and the second was a copy of a delightful book about friendship and internet responsibility called Digiduck’s Big Decision (£2.80), which is the perfect way of introducing younger children to the dangers of the internet without giving them nightmares. You can also read Digiduck’s Big Decision online.
I think like all other good habits we instill in our kids like healthy eating, excercise, hygiene and education we need to teach our kids about online safety at an early age so that responsible internet use becomes natural.
Thanks to Will for firing through these resources. Your timing was perfect. If anyone else has any Online Safety Resources for Younger Children I should have a look at please do add them in the comments section.
3 thoughts on “How to talk to young kids about the internet?”
You might want to tell them to NOT use Internet Explorer as the code was and to some extent still is very very badly written. Anyone who writes web pages with developer tools such as Dreamweaver will tell you this. use something like Firefox instead. Code wise it is much tighter, although as a developer Firefox can be particularly fussy about how it interprets web code.
I think you’re completely right and if they are using the internet at all, you need to start talking to them about internet safety. Thanks for the recommendations. I don’t have anything to add, but I think I may have to write my own post, if only so the parents of my children’s friends start to give it some thought when my kids are at their houses!
I do have a spare copy of the book if you want one for Bug.