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North Waikato News - - OUT & ABOUT -

or most Ki­wis, the won­der­ful world of the WWWis just a click away. But while the in­ter­net has be­come like an ex­tra limb when it comes to our busi­ness, ed­u­ca­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment, it can also hold some deeply sin­is­ter se­crets that have the abil­ity to psy­cho­log­i­cally harm our chil­dren.

Trolls bully un­sus­pect­ing peo­ple while they hide un­der the veil of anonymity. Bad peo­ple pre­tend they’re not who they re­ally are. Pornog­ra­phy can ap­pear out of nowhere. And too of­ten we hear sto­ries about vul­ner­a­ble Kiwi kids who’ve been con­fronted with on­line sit­u­a­tions like these, but haven’t known how to deal with them.

Think about these sce­nar­ios. When a kid from your child’s school posts lies about them on so­cial me­dia, la­belling them ‘sluts’ or worse, they might hide their shame from you be­cause they’re wor­ried they might get in trou­ble. When an­other kid shows them a sex­u­ally-driven video, they might not look away be­cause they don’t want to be la­belled ‘un­cool’. When a seem­ingly kind stranger on­line gives them at­ten­tion, they might feel flat­tered and start up a re­la­tion­ship that might seem in­no­cent at first but could quickly be­come some­thing else.

The in­ter­net is a won­der­ful thing. But it can also be very dan­ger­ous. Par­ents need to know what their kids are do­ing on­line so they can ed­u­cate and help pro­tect them. Open and hon­est con­ver­sa­tion might not be that ‘cool’, but it’s es­sen­tial to en­sure your kids re­main safe and happy when they’re on­line.

‘‘The best way to ap­proach the con­ver­sa­tion is to ask your child

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