Any idea what your child does online? The thing is, they probably don’t even know and that’s why e-safety and digital literacy are key nowadays! Everyone using the internet should learn about managing and navigating themselves through cyberspace securely and safely.
This term basically covers safety online, on the web or on the internet in terms of their safe and responsible use in connection with technology. E-safety is relevant for computers, smartphones, tablets and any other technological device offering access to the internet.
In schools all staff are trained on e-safety as most classrooms are equipped with devices enabling web access. Therefore, the same should apply to all parents using internet-enabled gadgets with their children at home. However, most parents or carers are left in the dark about this important and vital aspect of the online world.
How to be safe online?
Fortunately, there’s a wealth of fantastic educational resources available for parents as well as teachers. Depending on your learner’s age, here are a few expert tips provided by iaps.uk on how to keep your child or student safe online:
• Check the age limit on social media platforms and messenger services:
• To set up an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; Tumblr, Reddit, Secret, Snapchat, Pinterest, Habbo, Google+ your child or student needs to be 13 YEARS OLD.
• On LinkedIn their minimum required age is 14 YEARS and on What’s App it’s 16 YEARS.
• If their account is in your name or registered via your phone contract, you’re legally responsible for ANYTHING happening. The same applies for your child’s account, if they’re not over 18 years old yet.
So, ensure you’re in control by
• Creating a rule book for online use at home and outside
• Limiting screen time and when engaged with a gadget make sure you can get access easily, e.g. they’re not locked in their room
• Being consistent and explaining why these rules are important and what consequences can arise
• Downloading GALLERY GUARDIAN – if you are contracted to your child’s phone it sends an alert of inappropriate images
• Downloading OUR PACT – an app allowing you to switch off the apps on your child’s phone, and to a schedule
• Trialling CIRCLE WITH DISNEY – an application that claims you can manage all devices in your home setting time limits and turning off individual apps.
• Check these tips on Busythings for your child/student:
Why early intervention matters
According to a Telegraph article from September 2017 quoted by iaps.uk
• 72% of 12 to 15 year olds have a social media profile,
• 42% of 8 to 11 years olds prefer watching You Tube to watching a TV set,
• 51% of 12 to 15 year olds use SnapChat,
• 32% of 8 to 11 year olds have a smart phone,
• 34% of 12 to 15 year olds have encountered “hate speech” on online in last year and
• 21% of 12 to 15 year olds play games with people they have never met.
These statistics clearly show that the internet offers many opportunities for children to be exposed to potentially harmful content or contacts. It is a great place for people to prey on vulnerable and naive individuals while remaining anonymous. And being helpless or uninformed in such exploitive situations can lead to dangerous, humiliating and traumatic incidents.
Nobody wants their child or student to experience anything like this and that’s why every little piece of e-safety information matters.
A way to empower your child or student and to learn managing an online presence safely and responsibly first hand is to start their own blog or online journal. Under adult supervision creating and running a blog can offer the learner many opportunities to improve their digital skills to become an educated digital citizen. For more information on where to start with a blog read our article “How to become a blog writer even as a student” on our UK Education Blog.
If you are interested in learning more about monetizing a blog or earning online read our guide on the ClickDo website called “How to make money online in the UK”. It contains ideas you can use together with your learner to discuss critically.
I’m an early years professional having taught in Germany and London over the last 18 years in various settings and schools in state and private education. I have developed an interest in digitalization, writing and blogging.