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Keeping our Children safer online

Five steps to becoming an internet parent

1. Familiarise yourself
Talk with your child about their use of the internet, what social networking sites they use, which ones they favour and how they prefer to keep in touch with their friends online. Show a healthy interest and celebrate the positive side of these social technologies.

2. Explore
Explore these sites and technologies yourself. Ask for advice about them from your child. Know which ones are the most popular for different age groups. Explore their Terms and Conditions. Discuss with your child how they keep themselves safe on each of these sites, what features they use to protect their identity and their own content.

3. Restrict
For young children, consider parental controls such as filtering or monitoring software.
Have rules for your children online: how long they spend on the internet (multi-user Internet games can be addictive), where they use their computer (open, family room settings are better than closed-door bedrooms), what sites are safe, what is appropriate content to view, what information they should be sharing online.

4. Talk
It is critical to have regular feedback conversations with your child about their 'online life' and if anything is worrying them or has happened online.
Make it easy for them to come to you if something does happen that offends, scares or upsets them. But don't threaten to remove your child's access, this is a sure-fire way of ensuring your child never consults you about anything online.

5. Know
Be aware of potential dangers in the online world and find out what the more recent research says of the most common problems. Know where to report potentially illegal or inappropriate content or behaviour online. Contact the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs for illegal and/or child-exploitation issues.

Copyright (c) Martyn Wild - Available to use as is with permission from the author.


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