5 Tips to Keep your Kids Cyber Safe

Collective One

With school holidays just around the corner we want you to keep your kids safe this festive season. Times have changed where we used to socialize down at the milk bar or park, kids these days are jumping online. Technology is evolving and opening up new opportunities for everyone.  Children nowadays are learning more and more about how to use the internet and technology, but often they aren’t aware of the risks that come with it when not educated to the dangers online.  So we would like to bring light to some of those issues and give you some tips.  Here are some common risks that children could be exposed to:

  • Exposure to inappropriate material, such as pornography or violence
  • Grooming of minors
  • Physical danger, such as meeting up with strangers met online
  • Unwanted advertising & marketing towards children
  • Exploitation
  • Sexting
  • Harassment & bullying
  • Exposure of personal information & privacy
  • Financial risks
  • Unreliable information
  • Viruses

Thankfully, Bravehearts have some advice for parents and for young individuals when using the internet. There are some important steps to take to ensure children are educated and protected from harm. Most importantly, have an ongoing dialogue with your family and discuss what is right and wrong behavior from adults engaging with children. It must be a priority that children feel as if they can comfortably tell you anything in regards to who should be trusted and that you have knowledge of who they spend their time with.

Children should be taught about all of their body parts using all the correct terminology, not with nicknames.   Parents who can openly discuss and name body parts, what they do and what is appropriate can help children understand when actions fall outside the range of healthy relationships.

When it comes to the safety and well being of a child they must know that it is okay to say NO to any unwelcome actions by others. If you notice a change your child’s behaviour, be compassionate and encourage them to communicate openly with you while you are practicing active listening. There could be signs that something is effecting them, children don’t always discus upsetting experiences and feelings and often have trouble relaying something is wrong. This could be due to the way they feel, or because of expected reactions they may perceive which is why it is important to listen while staying calm and compassionate. When your kids have a sound understanding of healthy relationships, body parts and unsafe secrets then explaining the potential risks of using the internet will be well understood.

That said, the internet is a wonderful place for learning and entertainment. But like the world around us it can pose dangers if precautions are not taken. For example no identifying information like surnames, addresses, or phone numbers should be used. Kids must know to never meet strangers off the internet, with honest explanations as to why.  Lastly, try to always keep computers in a public area of your house when possible.

Here are 5 simple things to remember when going online:

  1. Private information needs to stay private and needs protection.
  2. You can only really know someone if you know them in real life.
  3. What you share will always be there.
  4. Not everyone online is who they say they are.  If something doesn’t feel right, tell a trusted adult.
  5. Social media settings should always be set on private.

 

Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive but a guide to assist you. We encourage you to have ongoing open honest conversations with your children about safety, be vigilant about the well-being of your kids and don’t just assume they know this information.

For more in-depth tools and resources check out the following links –
https://esafety.gov.au/education-resources
http://bravehearts.org.au/pages/keeping-safe-online.php

Finally – this is your last chance to support the incredible work that Bravehearts does in protecting our Australian kids from sexual assault, through the purchase of a Collective One product or gift.  Our 3 month campaign ends tonight at midnight, with a new Charity Partner being introduced tomorrow.  Click here to check out our gifts with meaning and purpose, and help Bravehearts continue with the critically important work that they do.

Thank you to our wonderful Collective One community who have supported the campaign so far – its through your ethical consumerism that we can all make a difference.

About the Author

Sharina Lopez

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