A huge thank you to those who attended our evening with John Parson. Due to the popularly of this event we will be looking to run this evening again in 2018, we look forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, please take the time to read some information from the evening.
The Desire to Communicate
One of the strongest desires we have is to communicate. Young people need to communicate in order to grow, be challenged, feel valued, form friendships, enjoy relationships and learn about themselves as well as the world they live in. Digital Social Networks allow parents and caregivers who are lucky enough to be part of their child’s online community an opportunity to support them as they exercise their right to communicate. Even help them if they make mistakes, but this opportunity should not be used as an occasion to judge or over-react if they don’t like their child’s tone.
If parents don’t learn to trust and react appropriately, young people will simply go underground and find others ways to stay off the radar. Then when they really need help we may not be available to them. We need to educate youth properly and allow them to go online and experience this digital space appropriately.
Education, parental support, trust and parental acknowledgment of a young persons right to communicate is the key to helping them learn to navigate this technology with safety in mind. This education also needs to teach young people that they have a responsibility for the well-being of the person sitting next to them in the classroom and the people they share their lives with.
This technology connects us with the rest of the world and it disconnects us at the same time. Now, more than ever before we need to nurture empathy in our children. This is because the ability to think about how another person is feeling, is a vital tool children require as they navigate the digital space. They will communicate with people they will never meet, they will debate with them, share ideas with them and even argue with them. They are able to experience cultures thousands of miles away at no cost! when disaster strikes in faraway locations they become instantly aware of it, perhaps while walking down the aisle of their local supermarket or reading a book in class, and they are able, if they so choose, to help those people by rallying local government or local businesses to send financial aid, food and other resources. What a marvellous tool ICT is and what a powerful light it shines on the world allowing us to experience and see more of it….good and bad.
Keeping Children Safe Online
1) Become your child’s “friend” in any social network environment your child creates.
2) Maintain easy access to your child's profile via their log in...…you will see everything.
3) Ensure that you can always have access to your child's phone to help them stay safe (i.e. it is not a no-go area) …check the quality of how they are communicating with others; talk about how they connect and communicate with friends. Is it consistent with the values of your family?
4) Educate your children about the importance of protecting family and friends images...teach them to seek permission of another before they send or upload images to the internet.
5) Try to always maintain open lines of communication with children. Do not over-react if you see something that alarms you or makes you angry….. share your concerns, and always talk about the issues and how they relate to them and their friends safety.
6) Agree on a time in the evening to stop using the technology within the home…that’s everyone. “Remember, what we model today will either come back and embrace us or bite us tomorrow” – John Parsons.
7) Talk/ask about their friends and social activity as a way to reduce the opportunity for cyber-separation to develop……encourage being open about new friends and what they are up to, and who their parents are. When in doubt, call the parents and introduce yourself.
8) Teach your children to protect their online identity, as a way to future proof themselves for employment…..we need to nurture and protect them online and teach them how to protect themselves as they engage information technology.
Predators & Online Gaming Platforms
Predators gravitate to areas where children play, communicate and congregate. Pay attention to the online games your children play. Questions to ask: Are the games age appropriate? Is the quality of the language used in the games suitable for a child? How does the game make money out of a child’s use? What processes are available to adults, should they need to make a complaint about a user? Parents/guardians need to familiarise themselves with the game the child wants to play before the child enters the game; alternatively sit alongside the child and experience the game with them.
Online gaming platforms provide paedophiles with the ability to observe minors interacting with other minors, all the time learning about the child. This gives the paedophile the opportunity to target select and then build a relationship with a child once the grooming starts.