Internet Safety: Talking With Parents & Carers.
Many parents believe that their children know more about the internet than they do. However, Internet safety education and helping young people to stay safe online is usually more about effective parenting and having opening conversations than is it about having technical know-how.
Here are some of the key messages and topics when talking with parents and carers about internet safety.
What young people are doing online.
It’s important to have a clear idea about what your students are using the internet for. Providing students with the opportunity to speak openly about their online experiences can be very illuminating. This can help you identify potential risks that your students may be exposed to through their online activities. It can also provide an opportunity to explore the motivations of young people when making certain online choices.
When talking with parents and carers, talk to them about what their young people are doing online, and what their main concerns are. This can give you an idea of where to move the conversation to next.
The positive aspects of the internet.
Remember to talk about the positive aspects of the internet with parents and carers as well. Internet safety tends to focus on the risks and dangers. Shifting the focus to empowering students to use the internet well, and onto how they can become digitally resilient is important.
Not relying to heavily on parental control software.
Parental control software can be a fantastic way of providing parents with more peace of mind. It’s also a great tool for preventing young children from accidentally accessing inappropriate content.
However as children grow, it’s important that parents and carers don’t rely to heavily on parent control software. It’s important that open conversations are had and clear expectations are set around how we will use the internet. A great way of doing this is through creating a Family Agreement.
Provide practical advice and resources.
There are so many fantastic internet safety resources now available for parents and carers. These can be a great help for starting a conversation with their young people about using the internet safely.
There are also guides on how to set privacy settings and parental controls on all popular devices and platforms on the Internet Matters website.
Arrange for external visitors.
A great way of enriching delivery of an internet safety curriculum is through arranging external visitors at your school. This should never be a replacement for teaching internet safety throughout the school. However it can bring new inspiration around the topic and provide a new learning experience for your students.
Listen to their concerns.
Take time to listen to their concerns, repeat back their concern to make sure you understand. Reassure them that the threat of internet is limited when we have regular open conversations with our children. You could then take time to talk through your schools internet safety policy or refer them to any relevant resources.