You may have noticed a lot more information across the media yesterday about internet safety. This is because the 9th February 2016 marks Safer Internet Day, internationally. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of internet safety. Through our work with children in primary schools, our parent seminars and our internet safety parent crash courses, we hear that there are many challenges to parenting in this digital age.
When we set out to develop our Zeeko Internet Safety Guide we hoped to answer a range of common questions on internet safety and also offer advice to parents who may have concerns about their children’s online journey. In an environment like the internet, that is constantly changing, it is undoubtedly a challenge to keep up with where children are at, digitally.
At Zeeko we have developed 5 Top Safety Tips which we regularly pass on to parents and teachers for keeping children safe online and dealing with challenges online.
- Keep the channels of communication with your child open. This is key. If your child feels they can talk to you openly about their digital experiences they are more likely to flag something that may be troubling them along with letting you know about their positive experiences online too.
- Give your child the knowledge and skills to use the internet safely. As we regularly say at Zeeko the internet is a fantastic resource but one that has to navigated, teaching your child to safely use the internet is a skill that they will have for life.
- Strike the balance between safety settings and giving them internet access, depending on your child’s stage of development. Balance on this is very important. Parents sometimes feel that banning internet access altogether may be the best solution. Through our work at Zeeko we would say that active mediation and communicating with your child on this is a much better solution.
- Remember that while children may know how to navigate the internet better than you, they do not have the maturity to know how to behave online. It is important to have conversations with your child regularly about their online experiences, taking into account their age and level of maturity. Children don’t always have the maturity to realise that when they put something online it cannot be easily removed or deleted, for example.
- Make yourself familiar with online trends. Knowledge is power, if you are up to date with internet trends it will make it a lot easier to parent in the digital age and of course deal with any challenges that may arise.
To mark Safer Internet Day every primary school in Ireland is receiving a digital copy of The Zeeko Internet Safety Guide.
To keep up to date with our work at Zeeko keep an eye on our social media channels.