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In March, we conducted a survey to find out how families are using technology and what parents’ main concerns are. Of the 1406 parents who completed the survey,
75% are concerned that their children will be sent offensive material.
73% are concerned that their children will receive inappropriate contact by an adult while online.
70% are concerned that their children will access pornography or other offensive material themselves.
63% are concerned that their children will be bullied online or via text messages.
It's no secret that parents are feeling daunted by the everevolving digital world we are living in. We want you to know that you're not alone and that there are some great, practical things you can do to protect your kids and help them use technology to their advantage! In upcoming issues of Parenting magazine, we will try and tackle some of your concerns, beginning with some fantastic suggestions from digi-parenting.co.nz.
The 'S' stands for Secure. When dealing with your bank, an auction site, Facebook or any other offical website, make sure the address of the site starts with 'https://' – this way your usage is encrypted, and you can be sure it’s not a fake site set up to look like one of the real ones.
You could try to 'blacklist' malicious sites, dodgy email addresses and applications you don’t want the kids to download – but it might be quicker and more reliable to 'whitelist' only the sites, applications and email addresses you do trust. Try searching for 'whitelist' plus 'email', 'application' or 'website' as required, and set your own one up.
Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date (and switched on), and your device is backed up. They’ll do all the work for you, so you can enjoy the internet with confidence.
Make a plan to back it up. If anything does go wrong, you’ll at least have a copy of your precious data. Shop around for an affordable backup drive and use automated backup software, with reminders to make it happen.
Part two – secure the people
Okay, so you’ve secured your devices in step one. All ready to sign up for your new role as head of cyber security consulting? No need – simply get the team involved in making everyone’s internet experience more secure, with a five-minute run-through of the five-step setup.
Just like any other parenting situation, a few simple rules go a long way. But which rules?
Make sure your family knows
Never give out details without asking an adult first (including yourself!) – and make sure the whole family understands why.
Shop online with a friend – use reputable shopping sites, and/or have someone else check the sale before you hit 'Buy Now'. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is – but we often need fresh eyes to help us see that.
Use debit cards instead of credit cards when shopping online – this limits your exposure. Call your bank and ask for help setting these up.
Call callers back – teach everyone to ask for a phone number and a name from anyone who calls you direct asking for information. And remember, your bank will never call you to ask for your password.
Have an 'ask amnesty' in place – so the kids know they can always ask for help if they find themselves in an uncomfortable spot.
For more great advice and technology tips, go to digi-parenting.co.nz or come along to a Digi-parenting workshop with Dave Atkinson – Wednesday, 18 May, 7.30pm in Auckland and Monday, 23 May, 7.30pm in Rotorua. Go to theparentingplace.com for more details and to book.