The Scottish Government has issued tips for parents and guardians on how to keep children safe online.
The Minister for Learning, Alasdair Allan, highlighted the importance of staying safe online – regardless of your age.
Dr Allan said: “A lot of people of all ages will have been delighted to receive new tablets, phones or laptops for Christmas which makes it the perfect time to go over some of the key tips to guide you in staying safe online and where you can turn for advice.”
Advice includes the following:
Talking about - there’s no better way to protect your children than talking about what your children are doing online, how they are connecting with others and if they know how to stay safe. They will already be learning about online safety and behaviour at school so why not start by asking them what they already know and what their favourite websites are? Adults need to know where young people are going online, just as they do if they’re going to a physical space. It is important to stay connected and talk to your child about how they are using social media – keep talking to them and listening so they know you take it seriously.
Don’t give out too much information - be careful about revealing personal information on social networking sites and ensure that your children are making use of the privacy settings available on the sites. Talk to your child about what information they share online and with whom – would they feel OK with their family seeing what they have shared?
Take advantage of parental controls - there’s more advice on the different kinds of controls available at www.saferinternet.org.uk
Know where to get support - parents and other adults need a proper understanding of what the digital landscape really looks like, where they can turn for advice and who will support them if they need to take action. If something does happen to your child, such as bullying online, there are lots of places to get support. These include respectme, Parentline, and CEOP
Encourage responsible communication and safe use - remind your child that online relationships are no different from relationships off-line and that they should be respectful and polite and never give away any personal information. Think about setting up a code of conduct with your child, similar to what you will have at work. This is an agreement about how smart phones, laptops or other devices are used and what will happen if they are misused. Discuss this with your child so they are clear about what they can and cannot do.
Although it is worthwhile talking about your child’s rights when using technology, it is also important to discuss the responsibilities that come with these.