I recently attended a Digital Diaries session with the internet security company AVG. The discussion was based around our children, their digital footprint and the most important part – protecting children online.
The first things I was made to think about were – how often am I online whilst in the company of my children? Lots, I check my Instagram timeline every morning whilst I drink my tea and the girls eat breakfast, I check my Facebook throughout the day. I’m often typing on my laptop whilst they are playing in the background.
Do you use your phone at the table?
Have you been known to say to your children ‘Just a minute’ because you are reading an update, typing a comment or checking a profile online?
Our children already have a digital footprint online thanks to us, the people who love them most. Most of us didn’t do it with bad intentions, we were just sharing our happy moments with our friends and family but maybe it’s time for us to step back and think more about what we are sharing?
AVG discovered in their recent research that
- UK parents are the most likely (out of 10 countries) to over share online with almost half (44%) having uploaded their antenatal scan before the child was even born.
- Almost 4/10 UK mothers has uploaded pictures of their newborn child online.
- When asked why we share images of a young child online 25% admitted ‘showing off’ while 87% said they wanted to share images with friends.
Tech skills overtaking life skills
If you stop to reflect a moment it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that our kids are learning to use smartphones and tablets FAST, a few interesting statistics from the AVG research show – our kids are good at this, they are going to get better than us at it so we need to stay one step ahead of them in order to protect them.
3-5 year olds in the UK
- 81% can play a basic online computer game
- 73% can operate a computer mouse
- 68% can navigate a smartphone/tablet unaided
- BUT only 1 in 10 (10%) can tie their shoelaces unaided
- Only 32% know what to do in an emergency (eg Call 999)
- Only half (51%) know how to ride a bike
6-9 year olds in the UK
- Only 4% are not able to or do not use the internet
- 19% are using the internet between five and ten hours a week
- 4% of children are on the internet for more than ten hours a week (That’s almost 1 and a half hours usage a day)
- 25% of this age group are not part of online communities, social networks or instant messaging services, like email, IM or virtual worlds
Parents – are you asking the right questions?
AVG research suggests that parental confidence is misplaced when it comes to online safety
- 2/10 parents admitted that their child has experienced aggressive or unpleasant behaviour online once or twice a year
- 90% believe their child has never been the victim of cyberbullying and only 4% acknowledge that their child has been a victim, industry research suggests this figure is much higher.
I am sure you will agree that the internet isn’t a safe place for our children to be running around freely and we need to take measures to make sure they are safe. Please read this post by Maddie Sinclair author of Gammon and Chips about their family friend Izzy Dix, a beautiful 14 year old who took her own life recently due to cyberbullying
Top tips for keeping your children safe online:
Mediocre Mum’s guide to setting up your iPad so your children can use it safely including a helpful and easy How To.
Make sure they use their devices in a busy place of the house where you can see what they are looking at. Not alone in their bedroom with the door shut.
Implement Free Family Time rules where everyone puts down their devices. None at meal times and a cut out time of 9pm or a time appropriate to your children.
Lead by example – Watch your own behaviour on social networks, think twice about firing off an angry email and get smarter about security.
Did you know members have to be 13 to have a Facebook profile? The content on Facebook is aimed at 13 years and above and yet statistics show that over 50% of parents in Brazil thought it was ok for their kids to lie about their age and start a Facebook profile up. Did you know that a prospective employer is most likely going to check a Facebook profile before offering an interview?
Know the various social platforms yourself, start up Twitter/Snapchat accounts, have a look around and understand what it’s about.
Keep communication OPEN at all times share in their online activity and find out what they’re doing during their online time.
Tony Anscombe Ambassador of Free Products for AVG Technologies and dad to a teen has written a very useful book ‘One Parent to another’ where, after many friends and family asking his advice on how to keep their teens safe online, he decided to write it all down. I’ve started to read my copy and it’s very informative and keeps parents in the loop letting them know the pitfalls to avoid. Tony and AVG have very kindly given me 10 copies to giveaway
To win a copy of One parent to Another by Tony Anscombe leave a comment below telling me what you do to protect your child whilst they are online. Giveaway closes 11/02/14 midnight.
More helpful links