from the Insafe Newsletter Issue 50/April 2010
Welcome to the 50th edition of the Insafe newsletter. This month we are focusing our attention on reaching parents. It's agreed that parents form a vital role in educating children on the responsible use of the Internet and mobile devices but what is the best way to reach them?
It seems that a good start is to devise an array of campaigns and actions targeting all corners of society. In this newsletter we highlight a broad range of strategies employed by our Awareness Centres and helplines throughout Europe. We see how partnerships with media, open evenings, brochure campaigns, surveys and research all help in the process of reaching the elusive parent. One issue we face is the gap between what parents think children do on the web and what the children actually do. A big hurdle is that many parents think children are the experts and that they cannot teach them anything new about being online.
Parents are encouraged to understand that they don't have to be the expert but they should set the ground rules and get involved with their child's online activities. Some common tips that are repeated whatever the medium are:
- Keep the computer in a shared room so you can see what the child is doing online.
- Ensure children are not using mobiles devices in their rooms when they should be sleeping.
- Ensure that your child knows the dangers of giving out personal information over the web and never does this.
- Talk to your kids, make sure they know the risks, get involved with your child's life online, learn with your child.
- Set rules about time online (recommended max 2 hours* screen time per day, including TV)
- Let your children know that not everything they read online is true. That goes for people in chat rooms and virtual worlds too, as people are not always who they say they are.
- Don't allow them to share personal pictures of themselves or others with strangers. Make sure that older children think about the consequences of their online actions and their online reputation.
*American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation
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