Staying safe online
At St. Helen's Primary School we believe rather than trying to limit young people's exposure to harmful content via filters and restrictions, we should be focusing on helping them build their skills, confidence and creativity and know implicitly what is appropriate and what is not appropriate material. This will make it easier for them to manage their use (to switch off!) and to deal with risks.
You can't shield your child from all risks online, any more than you can offline. But not all those risks have to turn into harm.
To help prevent the harm, young people need to be 'streetwise' online. This is sometimes called digital literacy, and it has three elements:
- technical literacy - knowing your way around technologies and having technical skills.
- media literacy - understanding different platforms and being able to judge the quality and reliability of online sources.
- social literacy - understanding online etiquette and the way things are done online.
As a parent, you may not be a coding whiz and you probably won't be up to speed with all the latest apps, but you may well be able to help your child understand the social side of things, the implications of their online behaviour (that what goes online stays online, for example, or that it's generally bad practice to say something to someone online that you wouldn't say to their face).
Here is a link with tips to help your child regulate their own use and take the more positive approach to the internet that seems to lead to greater safety:
In other words, a lot of the best strategies for online parenting are very similar to those offline. Most parents are already trying to balance freedoms and rules, to support their children and get involved in their lives. Adding new technology into all that can seem scary, but don't worry too much about the tech; focusing on your child, being interested and supporting them.