We are back from holidays and here to provide you with basic yet fundamental e-safety tips for your kids and teens.
This new article focuses on what we call the “5 golden rules” of e-safety. The 5 golden rules are skills which will maximise your child’s online safety. These rules are especially important to respect when entering a new environment, be it being a newbie to the Internet altogether or starting to use a new social media platform.
The 5 golden rules every child who goes online should learn to keep as safe as possible are:
1. Never tell your real name, age & photo
2. Never give your address and phone number
3. Do not disclose the name of your school
4. Never share your passwords
5. Keep it private: use your privacy settings and only friend people who you/your parents are absolutely certain to know in real life (these friends will know your favourite cartoon or your pet name or the “real friend secret word” you have given them in real life)
Your child is more likely to follow these rules if he/she understands why they are fundamental to his/her physical and emotional safety since, after all, to them, typing on a tablet or other connected device does not feel remotely unsafe. This is why, there is a need to have a few conversations before having the “5 golden rules” conversation.
Having the general “stranger danger” (or “tricky people”) conversation before having the “5 golden rules” conversation will facilitate the introduction of the “online stranger danger” conversations. Having both conversations at once is likely to be too much information and concepts for the child to retain long term.
If you are unsure where to start, start with the classic “stranger danger/tricky people” conversation. Then, perhaps a few days later, while reinforcing the initial conversation and skills, add the “online” dimension to the chat. Although the subject matter is complex, the gist of the “online stranger danger” conversation is that:
- Anyone in the world can be online at any time and try to connect.
- Unlike in the street, strangers online can lie about what they look like by using a fake photo, they can also lie about their gender by using a fake photo, they can also lie about their age and their intentions.
- It is very difficult to know what is true and who people online really are because all we see are photos and words, not the real person.
- This is why we have to keep ourselves safe and respect the 5 golden rules of online safety. If we make sure we carefully check that, online, we only talk to our real friends, it is unlikely that a stranger will talk to us. If we respect the 5 golden rules, dangerous strangers will not be able to find where we live or go to school.
For further information on the “online stranger danger” topic, you can read our full article here.
Last but not least, try and initiate these vital conversations before you next hear any distressing news on these topics. This will avoid that you communicate with your child while experiencing the fears and emotional stress created by the news. Anticipating and choosing a moment that is right for you and your family will enable to communicate more efficiently, clearly and rationally. Your child can only benefit from it.
Team Together Online - and keep the online safety conversation going!