As a return to school moves ever closer the Zeeko blog is back! This week our blog looks at the best ways to keep the conversation about staying safe online going. This can be particularly challenging at a time of transition such as the period between the end of the long summer holidays and settling back into the school routine.

So, how can you keep the conversation on the importance of staying safe online relevant and real over the next few weeks?

Talk to your child as much as possible about how important it is to stay safe when they are online. It is never too early to start this conversation. The internet is undoubtedly a fantastic resource, but kids do need to be aware that they should be conscious of who they are interacting with and what they are sharing when they are online. If children are used to hearing and participating in regular conversations about the internet at home, then they will certainly be better equipped to stay safe when they are online.

Managing something like the amount of time that your children spend on screens can be a challenge. Encourage them to have a healthy balance in their use of technology and the time they spend online. Remind them, through example, of the importance of face to face interaction with their family and friends. Promote regular family activities that don’t involve a screen! It’s totally natural that  your child may well have spent a larger amount of time than usual using digital devices over the summer period. It happens, particularly in a Country where we cannot be guaranteed wall to wall sunshine over the summer months. It is important the kids understand that a return to school will mean a different routine and inevitably a change in the way they will use devices or spend time on the internet.

As we regularly say at Zeeko while safety settings on digital devices, are a very necessary and important step where keeping your child safe is concerned, they are never 100% secure. The best way your child can stay safe is by having the knowledge through education, to make smart choices when they are online. To be conscious of what they are sharing and with who. When we visit schools throughout the country to talk about staying safe online we reinforce the importance of knowing what to do if something unpleasant happens when they are online. Linking in with an adult they trust, usually a parent to talk about what they have encountered online is crucial. With teens the approach is slightly different. We encourage them to remember the importance of behaving the same way they do when they are online as they do when they are offline. In other words, exercising the same degree of caution that they would in the real world as they do in the virtual online world.

This time between the ending of the summer holidays and the start of the new school year may well be a good time to encourage a digital detox. Encourage all the family to ‘unplug’ from their devices for a period of time each day or for an entire day. It can be a great way to help kids transition to a new way of using technology. The most important thing of all though is to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to staying safe online and regularly remind your child of the importance of this.