Helping parents and teachers to empower their children to protect themselves online

WHAT IS “STOP, BLOCK, TELL?”

WHAT IS “STOP, BLOCK, TELL?”

Everyone knows the Safe Cross Code right?

It’s the shorthand for the rules for crossing the road, and it’s a great way to create not just an awareness of danger for young children, but it’s also great shorthand for a set of steps to safety. It’s got a catchy tune and all, so that young children – and their minders – can learn the safe way to cross a busy street. Essentially the safety code for crossing the road is to stop, look and listen before walking straight across the road. Stop. Look. Listen. Walk. Keep Watching.

As a parent, none of us would let our young primary school child cross the road on their own without supervision or without teaching them the Safe Cross Code. Yet, a busy route that has a lot more dangers in it than a busy road – the Internet – is being navigated all the time by young unsupervised children without any rules being taught beforehand. Much of the time, minders don’t realize their young charges are out there navigating this new highway, often on roads designated only for adults.

The Internet can be a terrific resource for young children, but it can also hold its dangers, and we at Zeeko want to help parents – and children – to learn their own Safe Cross Code for the Internet.

We call it STOP, BLOCK, TELL.

This is what we show primary school children at our seminars, and what we advise parents and minders to do when supervising children using the Internet. These are the rules that can be used at home as well. We even have hand movements to go with the rules, that our young learners enjoy using when we give seminars in primary schools on Internet Safety for children. It’s a code for helping children who encounter inappropriate content or have experiences that make them feel bothered or upset. These include cyberbullying, but also unintended comments or photographs.

STOP

The first step is to stop the content coming into your phone or computer. If a child feels something is not right – even if they are not sure why – the first step is always to stop it. That means not replying to a post, not sharing a post, comment or photo. It also means not writing something like “go away” or “leave me alone”.

BLOCK

Every child who is using Snapchat, Facebook (yes we know it’s for over 13s but that doesn’t stop primary school children using it), or Instagram should know how to block a user who is bothering them. It’s an easy thing to do, and a child who knows how to do this is being empowered to take care of themselves, an important part of the Zeeko approach to internet security. Blocking a user means they can no longer contact you, and there is also a facility to report a user. We believe that reporting should be a last resort, such as persistent unsolicited contact from a stranger. Our Zeeko guide to Internet Security includes a section showing you how to block users if you wish to.

TELL

The third step we teach a child is to tell someone if you are worried or upset about anything you have seen on the Internet, including social media. That person can be a member of your family, but ideally an adult or trusted person who will take action for you. This might be a website with inappropriate material, or – more likely – a comment or photograph on social media that has upset the child. So showing someone not only means you are sharing the worry it might have caused you, it also means someone can reassure you and protect you. Being a victim of cyberbullying can sometimes mean you are afraid to speak out; but telling someone is the first step to solving the problem. We encourage adults to help children to discuss with their child how he or she feels about a negative online experience.

TO SUMMARISE, we believe children can use the Internet safely, but do need to be taught about the dangers, the boundaries and what do to if they run into danger.

The STOP, BLOCK, TELL code is an effective way of helping children to learn how to take care when they are on the web, including social media.

As smartphones and free Wi-Fi become the norm in our day to day lives, our young children need to know the rules that help keep them safe on the internet.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT OUR SEMINARS?

Give us a call at 01-5312612

Or email us at louise@zeeko.ie

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