Thanks to digital technology it’s a brave new world. It’s no longer enough to lock the front door and close the windows and hope that that will suffice to keep your kids safe. All those devices they have? They’re all portals into your home. And through those portals, anything goes.
Once kids discover adult-themed content, the proverbial cat is out of the bag – or so to speak. At that point, there is no going back and it’s important that you begin a dialogue. Not being open about the content that is out there could cause you to lose the respect of your children – not something you want.
The first thing to do is to have an open discussion of the content that is available online. It’s not so much the content itself that is the problem; it’s the danger that it might harm your child. Educating your kids is the key. You can’t be there every moment of the day policing what it is that they are doing. They need to internalise the ability to stay safe online.
The best way to ensure that they do is to make sure that they feel comfortable approaching you. That means being open about violent and sexual online themes, and discussing online predators.
Do Your Research
People have been complaining about violence in video games since the early 1990s. Games like Doom and Duke Nukem set the scene for the negative press that would accompany video games for the next two decades. But fewer parents know that apps too, can be dangerous. That’s why it’s worth doing your research on the games and apps that your children are using. According to sites like gameadvice.org they often contain hidden adult content.
No Private Passwords
Sometimes kids will get involved in online relationships that they don’t feel like they can tell you about. Online, that’s a big problem. There is the possibility that they are being groomed, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
That’s why it’s best to share all passwords until they’re old enough to look after themselves. That way, you’ll have access to their Skype and Whatsapp accounts, and you can make sure that they aren’t at risk.
Have The Same Rules As Offline
Your kids need to be reminded that they should conduct themselves online, just as they would offline. They would never dream of shouting and trolling people in real life. And they wouldn’t ever go off with strangers. Yet, in the online world, too many young people get caught up in arguments and give out sensitive information.
The best thing to do is to remind them to be civil and friendly, and to tell you if a stranger contacts them.