Keep Your Tweens Safe Online

What are your children doing online? It is a question that concerns many parents. After all, it’s a worry to think that our children may know more about blogging, social networking sites and even online gaming than we do.

What is my child doing online?

Survey after survey suggest that very few parents are fully up to speed with what their youngsters are doing online. In fact, the only common theme seems to be that the internet is becoming increasingly integral to young people’s lives and that the gulf between the parent and their child is becoming ever wider. Users of online environments and other internet based technologies are getting younger and younger- children as young as eight are now navigating their way around online environments with ease.

Recently published figures from Ofcom state that:

• 41% of 8-11 year olds regularly use the internet
• 37% of the same age group use mobile phones
• 56% play computer games online
• 7% of 10 year olds have the use of a web cam

So how do we as parents fight our way through this jungle of terminology and new technologies and get our children to confide in us? How do we understand what people will do to engage with young people online?

Adopt these basic tips:

• Know what your children are doing online and who they are talking to – ask them to teach you to use any applications you have never used before.

• Keep the computer in a family room, not a child’s bedroom – children will be less likely to engage in inappropriate activity if they know other people will be nearby.

• Help your children to understand that they should never give out personal details to online friends – personal information includes their instant messenger id, email address, mobile number and any pictures of themselves, their family or friends. If your child publishes a picture or video online, anyone can change it or share it.

• It is not a good idea for your child to open files that are from people they do not know, or any spam/ junk email and text messages – they won’t know what they contain. It could be a virus or worse an inappropriate image or film.

• Help your child to understand that some people lie online – therefore it’s better to keep online friends online. They should never meet up with any strangers without an adult they trust.

So remember, when you give your child their first taste of technology, sit down with them and ask them to talk to you about what they do online. Remember, it’s never too late to learn!

Find out more
The thinkuknow website gives you – and your child – the latest information on the sites they like to visit, mobiles and new technology.

Written by the SuperNanny team.