In 2010 Safer Internet Day was celebrated through over 500 events in 65 countries all over the world in a bid to help keep children and young people safe when using the web or technology.
saferinternet.org have come up with some positive parenting strategies which will help to ensure the safety of their children and listed below are what we consider to be some of the most useful tips:
One of the most important safety strategies is to make sure you maintain an open dialogue with your children about the technology in their lives.
Set some ground rules which incur penalties if broken but be sure to not frighten your children into thinking their phones/computers etc will be taken away if there are problems.
If there is a problem then be sure to discuss the issue calmly and rationally and help your child to devise self protection strategies in case they encounter a problem again in the future.
Be vigilant and look out for any changes in your child. If they are quieter than usual, withdrawn, secretive or tired then it is likely that something is wrong. Children would often rather hide their troubles so looking out for any of these behaviours could be an indicator of a problem.
Discuss and set the ground rules
As mentioned above it is always good to set some ground rules with children regarding their use of mobile phones etc. It is a good idea to include your children in the making of these rules so that they understand the reasoning behind them, don’t consider them to be unfair and will thus be more likely to stick to them.
Ground rules are likely to vary depending on age and you may have to review the rules regularly as your child’s expectations about using technology will evolve as they get older.
In the event that your child does become a victim of cyber bullying then it is important that they take prompt action. The tips below are taken from the European Commission website, Keep Control which has been designed to help children and young people keep control of their online lives:
- Don’t reply to messages that are meant to harass or upset you. This is likely to encourage the bully.
- Keep the message: you don’t have to read it, but keep it as proof of harassment. It is vital to have a record of the incident when you look for help or want to report it.
- Report problems to people who can do something about it. You can take control by not putting up with offensive content or by reporting it to the website owners when you come across it. Incidents that could be illegal should be reported to the authorities.
- Block the sender. You don’t have to put up with someone harassing you – block unwanted senders!
- Tell someone you trust. Talking to your parents, friends, a teacher, youth leader is usually the first step in dealing with any issue.
- Respect yourself and respect others – being online is very public and very real, although it doesn’t always feel that way. Know your rights! Be creative! Be yourself! Be in control!
For further information and tips from safer internet you can visit their website here.
View our fact-sheet on Bullying or visit the homepage to locate a professional counsellor in your local area.