Keep­ing your kids safe in cy­berspace

North Waikato News - - OUT & ABOUT -

Trolls may be lurk­ing around ev­ery cor­ner to ruin your child’s ex­pe­ri­ence of the in­ter­net. Here is a guide to avoid­ing dan­ger.

about the type of things they see on­line and the ad­vice they would give to a friend fac­ing on­line chal­lenges,’’ says Martin Cocker, NetSafe’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer. ‘‘Kids of­ten find it eas­ier to dis­cuss things in the third per­son and this is a good way to un­der­stand what they do and how they be­have on­line. We have more par­ent­ing tips at www.netsafe.org.nz’’.

Don’t be Big Brother and dic­tate ev­ery­thing your kids do; teach them how to use tech­nol­ogy safely and re­spect­fully. En­gage them in open and kind con­ver­sa­tion about what they do on­line, in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re in trou­ble. And if you don’t un­der­stand much about so­cial me­dia your­self, learn. (And Neigh­bourly.co.nz is a safe and easy way to start!)

It’s not just about how they deal with other peo­ple ap­proach­ing them on­line though; talk to them about how they treat oth­ers. Pro­grammes like At­ti­tude’s Con­nected, de­vel­oped by Voda­fone and The Par­ent­ing Place, teach Kiwi youth to be re­spect­ful to other peo­ple when they’re us­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Most peo­ple own smart­phones these days. The in­ter­net is in­stantly ac­ces­si­ble, and there­fore kids are in­creas­ingly sus­cep­ti­ble to stum­bling across im­ages they shouldn’t or be­ing sub­jected to cy­ber­bul­ly­ing. The more time we take to un­der­stand what our chil­dren are do­ing on­line, the safer our fam­i­lies will be. And that’s got to be a good thing for our neighbourhood too.

The in­ter­net is a won­der­ful thing. But it can also be very dan­ger­ous.

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