Cyberproof your child no matter what age!

Simple ideas for Preppies to Young Adults

With the new year begun  it is time to start to familiarise yourself with the media your children are using and may begin to use over the next year or two.

Happy learning – it is no longer an acceptable excuse for adults to feign knowledge of the sites our children visit.  We must be ahead of the game!

Regardless of the age of your child there is always a place to start.  Here are some age appropriate suggestions.

Prep

If your child is entering Prep they will be starting to use the internet.  Perhaps they play a few games, perhaps they search for things on Google.  Have you protected your child from accidently coming across inappropriate sites by adding the right software (see our drop down menu on Filters).  Talk to your child about what they should do if they see something that they don’t like.  Try it for yourself…type Barbie Doll into Google and see what comes up.

Grades 1 to 3

If your child is entering Grades 1 to 3 start to proactively share values and expectations about using technology. Set family rules about access and length of access. Talk about the importance of keeping Passwords secret and not sharing personal information on line. Viewing materials found on the http://www.mediafamily.org/ web site can be helpful when talking with your child.

Grades 4 to 6

If your child is in Grades 4 to 6 they might ask if they can have a Facebook account.  You have to be 13 to do so or lie about your age.  There are good reasons for this.  You might think it is lovely for your 10  year old to share photos and chats with their 10 year old friends, but consider the fact that many of their 10 year old friends have teenage brothers and sisters – do you want your 10 year old to see the photos, language and concepts shared by teens?  Actively engage and monitor household technologies to learn about the latest and greatest. A method of staying up to date is by subscribing to www.iCybersafe.com – just enter your email address in the box at the top right hand corner of this page and you will receive the latest articles as they are posted.

Year 7

If your child is entering Year 7 it is likely, for instance, that they will ask (or not) to set up a Facebook account when they turn 13 (the legal age for a Facebook Account).  Have you used Facebook?  Do you understand how to set the Security settings to ensure that your child is safe and protected?  This term is a good time to begin exploring this.  Our Social Media drop down menu will give you quite a lesson on how to navigate Facebook.

Provide them with strategies if they do see cyberbullying or are victims of it.  Tell Mum and Dad, tell your Big Sister or Brother, your Level Manager or Form Tutor.  Email them if that feels more comfortable but don’t put up with it or accept it.

Check that your filtering system is up to date  and covers all your computers and mobile phones. There are several filtering programs that can be downloaded for free or are fee-based that can filter mobile phone and computer data.  See our drop down menu on Filters.

Year 8 and above

If your child is between 14 and 17 emphasize that NOTHING is private and EVERYTHING is permanent on the internet. We all believe that we have a certain level of privacy with our individual technologies. This is not the case. Every day we are leaving a “digital footprint” that will last indefinitely. Remind them that employers, real estate agents, and anyone interested in them will search the internet for photos and information about them.  Get them to ‘google’ their name and see what is there already!

Discuss respectful etiquette and the negative impacts of cyberbullying. http://www.cyberbully.org/ can provide information on the negative impacts of bullying with technologies. nomorebullying.com

Limit TV viewing and screen time. Develop family contracts about screen time.  Link it with a consequence and be strong and stick to it.  Obviously, the more time our children are in front of a screen on Facebook, the less time they are reading, playing outside, or engaged in HOMEWORK!

About Renata Rowe

Deputy Head of Campus/Head of Secondary, Ivanhoe Grammar School, Plenty Campus This blog is the School's way of helping our parents and teachers understand and experience the cyber world that their children live in. We post stories about the latest cyber safety issues, and the latest social mediums that their children and teens might be using. We believe that teaching children and teens to be good Digital Citizen from a young age will protect them and their reputations. Our parents have been delighted and have subscribed so that they can receive our updates - we post about once or twice a week. So subscribe - its easy to do, just enter your email address in the box in the top righthand corner of the home page and posts will automatically be delivered to you.
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