03 Mar Screen Time – cyber safety and raising good digital citizens
There is no set age to introducing your kids to digital technology and cyber safety. This decision is yours to make and may depend on many factors such as your family’s lifestyle, what devices you are planning to introduce, and how you are planning to use technology to engage your children.
Your children’s screen time might start with educational games on an iPad or watching their favorite movies but over time it is your responsibility to watch over and educate your child as they interact with technology to learn, have fun, and eventually, socialise.
Why teach cyber safety? Can’t I just control what my child sees?
No method of control is truly fail safe. You can try your best to supervise and control the content your children see, BUT is is more than likely they will be exposed at some point. This can happen accidentally at home, at a friend’s house or in the playground. Children can come across inappropriate content whilst online very easily as well as potentially dangerous people or websites. It is extremely important to teach children the importance of online safety but also to teach them what to do when they come across anything inappropriate.
Communication is a great place to start. From a young age you should be having continual conversations with your children about the internet- they need to know that if they ever feel unsafe they can come to you. You need to discuss things like sharing of personal information: what is okay and not okay to share online. Talk about stranger danger being important on the internet too. Show them examples of spam, email scams and advertising and talk about the differences between knowing someone and being their online “friend”. If you have these discussions as they arise you are arming your child with the information they need to make the right choices.
For parents and even teachers introducing technology into the classroom, you should also discuss with children the they need to act to be a good “digital citizen”. These include things like:
- Treat others the way you want to be treated- Don’t forget there is another person behind the screen.
- Leave comments that have a purpose and are helpful
- Share, but remember to give credit for what others have created and achieved. Always ask before you share a photo of another person.
- Report bad behavior and don’t stand for cyber bullying.
Where to get more information:
- www.thinkuknow.org.au is run by the Australian Federal Police and has a wealth of resources for parents and lesson plans for teachers.
- www.digitalcitizenship.nsw.edu.au has information on digital citizenship and cyber safety for junior or high school teachers as well as parents.
- Edge It Learning can run sessions for teachers or parents on how to teach cyber safety and digital citizenship… inquire here.
Get technology on your side:
- Most devices have built in controls to help you restrict what children can do. For extra control you can install apps like ScreenTime that help limit what your child can do and when.
- Protect your home internet and keep your kids safe with the Trend Micro home network security. This device connects to your existing router and provides internet security for all users but also offers extra features such as internet time limits for kids. You can get one here.