When I was 4 years of age, my best friend was called James. I used to have my favourite, wooden nodding dog toy that went everywhere with me, along with my favourite teddy bear Robert. The only technological device I had was a retro Sony Walkman cassette player with a Thomas The Tank Engine cassette.
My daughter who is now 4 years of age, has a best friend by the same name. Her favourite teddy bear is currently a One Direction teddy bear that sports a Chelsea FC kit and is called Harry. She has an iPad, Leappad and had access to the Internet on my computer, phone and iPad.
I was around the age of 9 when I first used a computer and even back then it was the old style BBC with the proper, huge floppy A and B disc drives. My daughter gets to play on iPad’s at school. How times have changed… but have they?
Things are so instant now. You do not have to wait for your favourite tune to come out on disc (or cassette if you are not technologically advanced!) as you can now jump straight onto YouTube and view the video. In fact you can watch any video you wish to on YouTube. Not just music either, people actually post personal videos on there too.
If I can see these, so can my daughter. In fact she has! The LMFAO ‘Sexy and I know it’ music video is great entertainment apparently… especially the part where the ‘boy pulls his pants down’. Oh did I have some explaining to do when my daughter actually came out with that phrase!
It’s not just things that children can see that is worrying, it’s who they can actually communicate with. I have personally had firsthand experience of dealing with bona fide stalkers – yes, plural. I am talking utterly, crazy people who appear so normal online. Hell, even I probably appear normal online. If I can chat with these people though, so can my daughter.
Teaching children about Internet Safety is paramount and I try to supervise my daughter as much as possible when she is using the net. Luckily the most viewed site at the moment is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, though I dread the day when she finally asks for her own email address. I know she will definitely not be set up with social media accounts until she is much older – old enough to understand that anyone can see what you write or post.
I think though that now is definitely the time to sit down and explain about the Internet. There is information on protecting children online which offers fantastic guidance for parents, just like myself, when considering this important conversation.
There are certain programs you can also use on your computer which will give you added reassurance as the Norton Family Premier which is recommended for families with small children. This tool is designed let kids experience the best the web has to offer, while also spotting potential dangers before they become real life risks. As an admin on the home computer or tablet, it lets us track the terms and keyword our kids search for and block all the stuff we don’t want to be included in the result should they ever end up going do the wrong path on the web.
I know I will definitely be sitting down and researching more about Internet safety before I attempt talking to my daughter and a good place to start would be this Guardian article.
It would be interesting to know how you have broached this with your children? Do you have any good hints and tips on how to ensure your children stay safe when accessing the Internet?
Disclosure: PR Post – This is a collaborative PR article