As parents, we certainly can’t be with our children constantly to monitor the potentially inappropriate material they may encounter. But we can help them learn to make good choices. We can take advantage of teachable moments to compare media content and messages to our family values perhaps when watching a TV commercial or show, viewing a website, movie, or discussing the lyrics to a song.
Cyber safety is an important parent-child discussion to revisit frequently with your child, from elementary school through high school. Experts warn that children are most vulnerable to online dangers while in their own home. While many potential dangers are filtered so students can’t access them at schools, children may have direct access to inappropriate sites at home.
Five tips to protect your child from viral challenges
- Discuss the online trends among their peers and find out about what games their friends are talking about. It’s important you understand what websites, apps, and social media platforms they are on to help them minimise potential risks.
- Have regular conversations with your children about the risks they may be exposed to and how to deal with them, such as cyberbullying, peer pressure and grooming, and ensure they feel able to come and talk to you if they see anything upsetting.
- Check their privacy settings. Make sure they know how to make their profiles ‘private’ so they are not sharing personal information to strangers.
- Make sure they know when and how to report and block any malicious or inappropriate messages or posts on the platforms they use.
- Advise them to be careful about over-sharing personal information such as their school, telephone number or anything that identifies where they live and consider not using their full name for their profile.