My daughter Sylvia has been back at school for four weeks now and is getting into the full swing of things. Just like last year she brought home a ton of letters and forms to be signed. There are after school clubs to join, medical updates, school trips and new ID’s for her online accounts.
When I was in school we used computers but it was so so different to today’s world. There was no such thing as the Internet and we did not have to worry about children’s online safety. Sylvia’s school is fabulous. They teach the kids about being cyber safe and I’m glad they do as the children are expected to use computers at home on a regular basis to complete homework.
Just before the new school term, we were sent a fantastic new Acer Iconia 1 tablet which I am using for social media. Sylvia is also sharing the tablet. So far she has used it to play some kids games, complete homework, sign on to school accounts and watch fun videos on Youtube.
Sylvia loves Youtube but I need to be so careful, especially as there are some dodgy videos disguised as kids videos. As a Mother I need to be super vigilant in protecting my daughter and keeping her cyber safe.
If the Internet was around when I was a child, I may have been more clued up on Internet safety, however this is new territory to me, parenting and having a child who uses google and youtube and other online programs.
The good news is there is a lot of information out there to help me as a parent to keep my daughter safe. In fact A.O.com have a selection of articles which I can read to help me keep Sylvia cyber safe in today’s world.
It’s not just tablets and computers, games consoles such as a playstations, Nintendos and the xbox need to be monitored as well these days. The good news is that these games consoles are designed with the option of parental controls.
I read the A.O.com guide to setting parental controls on game consoles and it is so easy to understand and implement. A.O have a range of articles including what to do if your social media is hacked. This is another thing which I have experienced and had to deal with in the past few months.
Keeping our kids protected and safe online is so important. I think it’s good to set parental controls and have rules or guidelines about what or how these consoles and tablets are used. Of course in today’s world our kids are likely to come across something they should not. It has happened to us. Sylvia was looking for Disney Princess videos and came across something not appropriate.
My advice would be to sit and talk with your children about the dangers of social media and the internet as well as the good. Talk about what to do if they do find content which is not suitable. Also chat about parental controls and why they have them.
Lastly chat to your kids about cyber bullying. It is so easy these days for a child to be bullied online. My daughter started playing Animal Jam, a perfectly innocent game, however there were no parental controls and I could not see who she was interacting with. She made friends with another character who offered to trade items with her. Once she had given her items, the other person refused to follow through and Sylvia was really upset. There was an option to report this and options to report bullying but after a few times I decided this was not a suitable game for my child anymore.
I think it is much better for Sylvia to play on a console which is fully monitored and controlled than to play an online game which only deals with issues after the fact. It’s just food for thought and something to consider when looking at what is okay and not okay for your kids to play.
How do you keep your kids cyber safe?
*In Collaboration with A.O.com