Wednesday 18 October 2017

Safer Internet Day: Ten tips to ensure your child's online safety

With most parents feeling nervous about their children’s online activities, a new, Irish-authored guide to the practical steps they can take to protect them has come at a good time.

Siblings on the floor using tablet
Siblings on the floor using tablet
Understand your child’s device and what, when and how they can access the internet.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

A Co Down author and mum of two has self-published her first book aimed at protecting children on the internet.

Kerry-Ann Ferreira wrote Protecting Our Children in Cyberspace after hearing of the perils of the internet through the negative experience of a relative’s child.

She spent five months researching for the book, which is relevant to all parents of children aged 11 and under.

“There are huge benefits to the internet in how we communicate, for studies and in work, therefore removing my children from the digital world was not practical nor in their best interest,” she says. “However, I was determined to keep my children safe online, and a key component of this was upscaling my own knowledge of their technologies… quickly.”

From ‘privacy settings’ to ‘rules of engagement’, the book outlines practical steps for parents to take regarding their children’s’ online behaviour and how to create a safe online environment for young children.

Protecting Our Children in Cyberspace by Kerry-Ann Ferreira is available for download at the Amazon Kindle store, priced at around €3.55.

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Teach children the importance of privacy and privacy settings and be clear about what information they can share online and what information they must not. 
 

10 top tips for protecting children online:

1. Understand your child’s device and what, when and how they can access the internet.

2. Our children learn and develop behaviours that they see and experience; we must model good and healthy online behaviour that our children can emulate.

3. Child proof the cyberworld by activating parental controls on your child’s device.  The majority of devices already have built-in software.

4. Set guidelines and boundaries. This includes proper online conduct, what to do if they come across content that makes them uncomfortable and what sites they are permitted to access.

5. Position the family computer in a communal area. In this way you can monitor their behaviour; this will give you a good indication if things are not as they should be.

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An EU 'Kids Online' report out this week highlights the benefits of the internet, alongside the need to ensure a safe environment for those using it.

6. Teach children the importance of privacy and privacy settings and be clear about what information they can share online and what information they must not. 

7. Communicate regularly with your children about their online activities and show an interest. Encourage them to share their experiences and what they are doing online.

8. Teach children online social responsibility. 

9. Learn how to take screenshots, how to block people and content and how to report inappropriate and/or offensive content so you can teach your children how to do this too.

10. Let your children know they can come to you about anything or anyone online without fear of reprisal. If a problem does arise, it should be dealt with in a calm and rational manner to ensure your children will continue to confide.

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