Is there safety in numbers? Over the past months I have often talked about the vital importance of having regular safety chats with your children to help keep them safe online.
But starting these conversations for many parents and carers can seem daunting, perhaps you don’t feel informed enough or the fast-pace of the internet can make it seem impossible to keep up with emerging trends and popular games.
If it feels too much, why not sign up to one of our free workshops? These give parents the skills and knowledge to understand the internet and technology as children do – from online games and cyber bullying, to setting up privacy settings and controls. We regularly hold these workshops in schools, community centres and businesses across Yorkshire including Leeds. If you would find it more helpful to talk about your concerns with like-minded parents, why not arrange for our free workshop to be delivered at your place of work or local community group?
O2 and the NSPCC have joined forces in a mission to help all children and their families in the UK stay safe online. You don’t have to be an O2 customer, they are completely free and are delivered by trained NSPCC staff and volunteers. The free workshops enable parents to come together to learn how to keep their children safe online. We have found that in these workshops parents have concerns that mainly come under three categories. See - what are our children being exposed to online? Meet - have our children been groomed or deceived by someone pretending to be who they are not? And Do - what actions can I take to keep my child safe? We talk about how we can address those concerns as a group.
Many parents have said they feel less alone in their concerns and the workshops help them develop proportionate responses, whereas before they may have overreacted. From talking with parents, we have recognised a sliding scale in how parents can react to online dangers, from the controlling parents who, in the extreme, stop access to the internet entirely to what we have termed a casual parent, someone who is not feeling confident about online activity and are just “hoping it will be okay.” It’s okay to feel that you may be at one end or the other of this scale right now, but by reaching out for help, for example logging on to the NSPCC’s Net Aware tool, a free tool created by parents and young people, it can help you reach the middle ground. To be that parent who is confident about discussing healthy online safety skills and agreeing ground rules together. The internet is amazing – so it’s good to reflect this in conversations with children. Sometimes we can be guilty of only talking about online safety when we’re annoyed or thinking of confiscating a device. Visit www.net-aware.org.uk or call 0808 800 5002 for free for more details.