If your child has access to the internet through a smartphone or other digital device, it’s important that internet safety is a hot topic of conversation in your home. The internet obviously provides a range of benefits, but it can also be a dark and dangerous place, especially for those who don’t know how to use it responsibly. I have teamed up with a private school in Surrey to offer parents some advice on how to approach the topic of internet safety with their youngsters.
First of all, it’s worth noting that this won’t be a one-off conversation. It’s something that you should discuss regularly with your child. Ask them what apps and websites they use the most and do some research into whether or not they are appropriate. Talk to them about the possible dangers of each of these sites/apps. You should also make it clear to your child that they should never share anything personal online, whether that be intimate photos or details like their address, phone number, or any passwords.
Explain to your child that sometimes people pretend to be someone they’re not online so that they can inflict emotional or physical harm on others. With that said, they must never meet up with anyone they have met online, especially without permission from an adult. It might also be worth chatting to your child about body image and explain that people often edit their photos before sharing them, so they should never compare the way they look to what they can see online.
Essentially, you need to establish a sense of open communication with your child where the internet is concerned. They must be clear on the rules and know that they can come to you should they need to. It’s important that you can talk openly about any issues that arise before they become too serious.