E-safety - How to stay safe online

E-safety - How to stay safe online

Posted on Apr 22, 2016
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E-safety

 

 

How to stay safe online

 

In last week’s blog we looked at what risks children and young people face online. In many ways knowing the risks is half the battle, but it’s also useful to be aware of what can be done to prevent e-safety incidents.

In this day and age, the approach to e-safety is much more about educating young people and enabling them to manage risk themselves, rather than on just censorship, filtering and monitoring.

Let's look at some of the common ways that parents and carers support children’s internet use. Even if you aren’t a parent, it’s useful to be aware of these approaches as they are relevant to other environments where children and young people access the internet.

 

The most common ways that parents and carers support children’s internet use include:

  • Using parental filtering or control tools
  • Setting rules and restrictions on how children can use the internet
  • Actively sharing online activities
  • Actively talking to children about e-safety

 

Research on these approaches has shown that:

  • Parental filters alone did not lower risk
  • Setting rules and restrictions can help to lower risk but as a result children are less free to explore, learn and become resilient
  • Actively sharing online activities or just sitting with children when online helps to lower risk and gives them more online opportunities and digital skills.

 

Clearly the focus should be on active involvement and education when it comes to reducing online risk.

Whether you are a parent or somebody who works with young people, the focus for prevention of incidents should be on educating children by talking to them and listening to their concerns. This empowers them to take more of an active role in their own safety.

 

So what can you do?

 

Talk about content

 

Filters and controls can limit exposure to certain content, but they won’t stop everything. As soon as children begin to use the internet, there should be regular conversations about what they might find.

Children and young people need to understand that they may be exposed to content that they’d prefer not to see.

 

Talk about contact

 

Talking about cyberbullying and online grooming might be awkward for both you and the young person; children who are bullied online find it especially difficult to talk about it, and it can be difficult for adults to explain the nature and gravity of online grooming.

 

Talk about conduct

 

There are a number of activities that young people get involved in that adults may struggle to understand – this has always been the case. But with the rise of technology and the internet, behaviours have changed.

This is why it’s so important for adults to talk openly with children and young people about how they conduct themselves online. Just as they can learn from you, you can learn an awful lot from them.

For example, with sexting, it’s important that you discuss with them what can happen to a sexual image once it has been sent out.

But it’s also important that you ask them questions about sexting.

  • Why do they think people do it?
  • Are there other, less-risky ways of flirting?
  • Are they obliged to send a sexual image if they are sent one by someone else?

 

Be approachable

 

Be someone who children and young people can turn to. Don’t assume that they will automatically know this – actively let them know that if they have concerns, they can talk to you. 

 

Ask questions

 

Even if they seem obvious to you, ask questions about what they do online.

 

Be honest and open

 

Tell young people why you are interested in what they do online, why older people may want to approach them online, and why some people bully online.

 

Don’t be judgemental

 

Be sensitive to a young person’s feelings and be aware that it may have taken a lot for a young person to talk to you. Even if you disagree with actions they have taken or beliefs they hold – stay calm and listen to what they have to say.

 

Are you looking for simple and effective e-safety training that's as easy to read as this blog? Then you've come to the right place. Sign up today with flick by clicking on the image below.

 

Buy flick's e-safety training

 

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