Firstly, the team at Zeeko would like to wish all the readers of our blog a very happy and prosperous New Year! It’s highly likely that your home now has at least one more digital device than it did before Christmas and that you have some, new year’s resolutions! Hopefully some of these resolutions relate to your family’s use of technology and ways to help keep everyone safe online. Here are our top tips for staying safe online throughout 2018!
Start and keep the conversation going:
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.
Encourage and promote a balanced approach to the use of technology:
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 if your child received a new smartphone, iPad or Tablet for Christmas they will want to spend as much time as possible enjoying and exploring their new gift. Setting boundaries early on about the amount of time that they can spend using technology is a good first step in promoting balance.
No safety setting is a substitute for education:
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.
Consider a digital detox:
It’s likely with the imminent return to the regular school routine that your child’s use of technology will be less than it has been over the holiday period. This may 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. Other tasks will undoubtedly be completed in the time spent off technology.
We hope that these tips will be a great starting point for you and your family to stay safe in 2018 and we will hopefully meet some of you in the course of this year at one of our parent seminars that take place in primary and secondary schools all over Ireland.