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10 Essential Tips for Child Safety Online

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With the protection of an individual’s data at SocialSafe’s very core, the following simple and practical advice is designed for parents and carers to consider in their ultimate aim to ensure that their child is kept safe online.

10 Essential Tips for Child Safety Online

  1. 1. 10 Essential Tips forChild Safety OnlineBrought to you byyour library of youMonday, 11 February 2013
  2. 2. Times have changed. Our children are being brought up in a world ofcompetitive peer-pressure as well as a relentless exposure to brands thatmesmerise with promises of popularity, beauty and shopping.Overlaid onto this status quo is a hyper-inflated degree of social connectivity viadigital devices meaning a friendship is always ‘on’. No longer is the family phoneshared in the hall and the television watched together in the living room, insteadour children’s bedrooms - once a private haven of books, toys and dreams - isnow a noisy, public playground devoid of privacy, imagination and parentalboundaries. Although their bedrooms are in our homes, parents and carersstruggle to exert any influence let alone understand the new language of‘LOL’ (Laughing Out Loud), ‘!!!!’ (Talk to the hand) and ‘CD9’ (Parents around).Built into our DNA as parents and carers is a desire to protect our children fromexternal influences and arm them sufficiently in order to tackle theopportunities, trials and realities that are harboured within the grown-up worldthat is waiting for them. It is our responsibility to teach our children to be able torecognise the important difference between the kindness of a well-meaningstranger and the predatory behaviour of someone grooming them for future ills,both in real-life as well as within the shadowy world of the web.10 EssentialTips forChild SafetyOnlineHow can we keep our children safe fromcyber-stalkers and online bullying?“,,Monday, 11 February 2013
  3. 3. What should we do in the face of Facebook?“,,The Web, social networks and the plethora of connected devices that our childreninteract with and have access to, sometimes as young as nursery age, arechallenging these established truisms, rules around their privacy and a previoushierarchy of care. No longer is a private conversation, message or email to a friendnecessarily private - and because the rules have changed, it is our duty as carers todo whatever we can to help them.So what should we do in the face of Facebook? How can we keep our children safefrom cyber-stalkers and online bullying? How do we regain control and re-establisha trusted influence in our children’s digital lives?Clearly the modern equivalent of reading their diaries packed full of their privatehopes and dreams never intended for our eyes, is not an appropriate route forward.Nor is the tapping of their mobiles to listen into the shared confidences of friendsgoing to build mutually trusting parent / child relationships. Similarly pretendingthat this is not happening and taking a ‘hear / see / speak no evil’ approach wouldrepresent a massive dereliction of duty on our part as carers.Many of us feel out-of-control from the very start of the conversation about socialnetworking. Our children’s knowledge and online skills from a very young age farout-pace ours. Parents haven’t the time or the inclination to go onto Facebook, andforget Twitter, or was it Bebo, MySpace or Friends Reunited...? From this observerpoint of view, it truly is a different and very frightening online world. And providingadvice to our children from this uninformed perspective is nigh-on-impossible.10 EssentialTips forChild SafetyOnlineMonday, 11 February 2013
  4. 4. With the protection of an individual’s data at SocialSafe’s very core, the followingsimple and practical advice is designed for parents and carers to consider in theirultimate aim to ensure that their child is kept safe online.10 Essential Tips forChild Safety OnlineMonday, 11 February 2013
  5. 5. 1OpendialogueMonday, 11 February 2013
  6. 6. 1OpendialogueIf your child has unsupervised access to devices, you cannot realistically stopthem from joining social networks such as Facebook, therefore werecommend that you talk to them about their activities online. Having an opendialogue that is based on trust rather than confrontation will be key tounderstanding what they are doing online.No longer will a password on the family PC stop your child from going online.Now, access can be via internet-enabled gaming devices, mobile phones, radiosor televisions. Nor will the ‘rules’ and small-print of social networks around theminimum age, stop your child from registering accounts even if technically theyare indeed under-age.Like it or not, their friends, idols, brands, TV programmes, sometimes evenschools, are all on social networks and the media drives home the ‘Like us.Follow us.’ message, 24/7. Therefore it is time for us as parents and carers to facethe fact that social networking will play a part in our children’s lives. And it is ourduty of care to ensure that their interactions are safe, informed and based onopen conversations with us.Talking to your child about their online activities will be key to a conflict-free,trusting and measured approach which will allow them, and you, to stay safe andin control of their online presence.Monday, 11 February 2013
  7. 7. 2OnlinefriendshipsMonday, 11 February 2013
  8. 8. Talk to them about what true friendship means - the conversations,confidences, behaviours and importance of having an in-real-life friendshipprior to any online connections. And make it very clear that they should neverever meet an online connection in real life for the first time without adultsupervision.Anxiety about friendship - being popular, not popular enough, wearing the rightclothes, saying the right thing, hanging out with the right people - really comes tothe fore during your child’s teenage years. Social networks can heighten theseconcerns, particularly when it comes to the number of online ‘friends’ they’ve got(there is a perception that the most friends they have on a network, the morepopular and worthy they become).It is vital that you have an open conversation with your child about whatfriendship really means. Try to remind them that true friendship is not aboutnumber chasing the number of friends they have on each network, instead it isabout having meaningful, trusting relationships where confidences are kept,which are based on real life events that they experience in person.It is vital that you emphasise that friendship starts at school, in after-school clubs,during Summer camp, not from online connections and virtual conversationswith people they have never met before. Their ‘in real life’ friendships are those toconnect with on Facebook, not friends of friends online nor with people whoseem or look nice. It is extremely important that they understand that they shouldnever arrange to meet someone they have ‘met online’ in real life - and certainlywithout your supervision. presence.2OnlinefriendshipsMonday, 11 February 2013
  9. 9. 3OnlineprivacyMonday, 11 February 2013
  10. 10. Talk to your child about privacy - what it means, how to behave online andhow much to reveal about themselves during their online conversations. Inaddition, we would recommend that the privacy settings on any social mediaaccount that they have should be set to ‘Private’, particularly in the earlystages of using the account. If appropriate, these settings can be relaxed overtime as your child gets more confident in how best to use the account.The gossip culture of celebrity magazines and newspapers, fueled by onlinerumours that can to go ‘viral’ in hours, is undermining our fundamental right toprivacy. In addition, there is an unwritten contract (sometimes backed up byunreadable and extensive Ts&Cs) that we automatically subscribe to by usingonline companies such as Facebook and Google: that we are using their servicefor free and in return they can make money by using and mining our data.So remind your child why it is important to protect both their own privacy as wellas respect the privacy of their friends. Arm them with useful advice such asremembering to ask for their friend’s permission before uploading their photos toFacebook and tagging them for others to see. Not everyone is comfortable withthis and once photos are online, it is very hard to delete or undo these actions.3OnlineprivacyMonday, 11 February 2013
  11. 11. 4Setting upaccountsMonday, 11 February 2013
  12. 12. Offer to help your child set-up their account. By being involved from the start -from helping to select an appropriate profile photograph to selecting the rightprivacy settings - you are establishing a relationship with your child that isbased on trust and open dialogue. Some networks such as Facebook enablea level of privacy to be set, however, do be aware that this is often not thedefault settings when you first set up a profile. Also, suggest that you are oneof their connections and that their posts are visible to you. And yes, thatmeans that you will have to have an account too.Setting up a social media account can be done in a matter of minutes. The majorsocial networks have deliberately made it extremely easy to get online veryeasily. However, time should be taken at this stage in order to make sure that theaccount has been set-up responsibly, privately and with consideration. Forexample, some social networks such as Facebook do allow the account user tochange the privacy settings to suit their own preferences.In addition, it is important that your child doesn’t reveal too much aboutthemselves - for example, they must understand why it is important not to revealtheir address, phone-number, daily / weekly timetable, nor naively select aninappropriate photograph for their profile picture.By being involved in the set-up process from the start, you will be able totogether talk the whole process through, provide them with useful hints, as wellas ensure that their accounts have been set-up safely and securely.If you are unsure of how best to go about changing the privacy settings of anonline account, ask a friend to help you. Guidance can usually be found in the‘Help Sections’ of the social networks themselves, for example Facebook andTwitter have comprehensive information resources.4Setting upaccountsMonday, 11 February 2013
  13. 13. 5LimitusageMonday, 11 February 2013
  14. 14. If you can, encourage your child to limit their use of social networks - both interms of overall time as well as the times of day (e.g. not late evening times).Some parents find it helpful to say that online devices should only be used infamily areas of the house, however this can be hard to enforce. One way oranother, regular dialogue about their use of social networks will help ensureyour child uses the Internet safely.As with anything in life, little and often is usually a good rule of thumb, and thesame is true with it comes to hanging out on social networks. It is important thatsocial networking doesn’t exert a dominating influence in your child’s daily life,and that they maintain a healthy balance of ‘in real life’ activities such as sport,reading and meeting up with friends, as well as encouraging that their homeworkis completed.It might be useful to establish some ‘ground-rules’ at the start of the process, suchas allowing 30 minutes of online activity per day once homework is completed.And try to discourage them going online to talk to friends late on in the evening -not only can this be risky, it can stop them getting a good night’s sleep.5LimitusageMonday, 11 February 2013
  15. 15. 6Back upregularlyMonday, 11 February 2013
  16. 16. Use a social-media back-up service, such as SocialSafe, that allows all socialnetwork interactions to be recorded. This guarantees parents a level ofsecurity should there ever be a need to look back on conversations andidentify issues.Trusting all social networks to keep your and your child’s posts and photos andhoping that they’ll be there for posterity is putting significant trust in the longevityof these businesses.Yes, Facebook’s growth seems to be showing no signs of slowing but hands-upwho remembers Friends Reunited, Bebo or MySpace? In a world where trendsand fads come and go faster than ever before, having a complete record of allyour online activity in a diary format via SocialSafe is a superb, invaluableresource for the future - a digital library for your child so they can get the mostout of life.6Back upregularlyDownload SocialSafe for FREEMonday, 11 February 2013
  17. 17. 7CyberbullyingMonday, 11 February 2013
  18. 18. 7CyberbullyingAlthough online stranger-danger is extremely concerning, be aware that itisn’t the only risk that your child might have to contend with online. Asincreasing numbers of children use social networks, cyber-bullying isbecoming a growing problem and one which is especially tough to deal with.Online bullying can be particularly upsetting and frightening because often itcan be anonymous and the bullies are able to contact your child anywhereand at any time of day or night as most online devices are on 24/7. Keepingrecords via apps such as SocialSafe is important in cyber-bullying situationsshould the abuse need to be reported either to the school or to the police’sonline protection division (e.g. CEOP in the UK).Online stranger-danger concerns are relatively well publicised in the media andmost of us are aware of this potential danger. However, there are many othersituations that we know less about such as cyber-bullying. If you suspect thatyour child is being bullied online, talk to them and try to find out who theperpetrators are. Remember that ‘Friends’ can be blocked on some socialnetworks.It is also very important that you start to keep records of the abuse in case itreaches the stage when formal action is required. SocialSafe provides the abilityto easily and automatically record each and every interaction on most socialnetworks.In the UK, ChildLine and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)both offer excellent resources in order to help manage what can be a veryupsetting situation. In addition, CEOP will allow you to report online abuse shouldthe level of bullying escalate.Monday, 11 February 2013
  19. 19. 8Keep arecordMonday, 11 February 2013
  20. 20. Keep a record of all log-in details and passwords that your child uses for eachand every social network.Taking care to keep a central file of online accounts, log-in details and passwordsis useful whether or not there is an issue with your child’s use of social media. It ishelpful for all sorts of reasons, including ensuring you have this importantinformation at your finger-tips should you need to contact the social networksthemselves to report issues, any privacy breaches or even fraud.It is vital that they don’t think that you want these details so you can read theirprivate conversations as this would clearly be a breach of your parent / childtrust relationship. By explaining why it is important to have this information in areadily accessible place, your child will be able to understand why its needed.8Keep arecordMonday, 11 February 2013
  21. 21. 9PersonalreputationMonday, 11 February 2013
  22. 22. It is important for your child to realise that anything that they post online staysonline and this potentially can significantly impact their future lives. Again,keeping a record of their online activity will provide a complete library of theironline activities, behaviours and interactions should you need to intervene atany stage.One of the most important online lessons that your child needs to grasp is thatwhatever is posted online has a habit of staying online, and with potentially long-term implications. Being grown-up, getting a job, taking on responsibilities suchas mortgages will seem like a lifetime away for your child who is experiencingthe excitement and freedoms precious to their teenage years. However, for anemployer researching a potential candidate - your child in five years time -coming across inappropriate behaviours, language, opinions or photographs ofevents from previous years that were posted in the heat of the moment canresult in some very negative conclusions being reached.Your child needs to understand that their personal reputation, as illustrated bytheir online activities, will represent them far into the future. It is vital that they feelcomfortable about whatever gets posted online in the cold light of day.Using an app such as SocialSafe that records each and every online interaction isa particularly effective way of changing behaviours. SocialSafe’s user-friendly‘diary style’ interface clearly illustrates issues and behaviours retrospectively andcan stop such problems escalating into an impossible reputational managementissue that needs to be tackled in the future when it suddenly seriously matters.9PersonalreputationMonday, 11 February 2013
  23. 23. 10UsefuladviceMonday, 11 February 2013
  24. 24. Remember that there is a huge amount of useful and official advice onlinethat is freely available including CEOP’s Thinkuknow campaign and ChildNet’sKidSMART campaign. Read these resources together and don’t hide yourconcerns from your child about the dangers that exist online.We believe that social networking - done right - is fun, exciting and cancomplement real-life friendships as well as their activities. By making sure thatyour child is aware of the pitfalls and problems, as well as arming them with thetools to manage these issues should they bump into them is a key responsibilityfor us as parents and carers.Invite your child to read this information from SocialSafe, ask them for theirthoughts, and refer to CEOP’s Thinkuknowcampaign and ChildNet’s KidSMARTresources. Both organisations have a wealth of information suitable for a rangeof ages that is easily understandable as well as practical. Perhaps print off theKidSMART ‘SMART’ guidance and pin it to your fridge - having this short advicefor all family members to see on a daily basis can be a helpful reminder.10UsefuladviceMonday, 11 February 2013
  25. 25. Staying safe means not giving out your personal information or passwordsonline.Meeting someone you know online is risky. Always take Mum, Dad oranother adult relative.Accepting emails or files from people you dont really know is very risky -they may contain viruses or nasty messages.Reliability: anyone can put anything on the Internet - check it before youbelieve it.Tell your Mum, Dad or another adult you trust, if someone or somethingworries you any time .... Whatever has happened.SMARTBeing S.M.A.R.T on the InternetCut out and keep safeyour library of you www.socialsafe.netMonday, 11 February 2013
  26. 26. Be calm, be safeBy talking to your child calmly, in an informed way and brokering an understandingthat is based on trust, is half the battle. Try to keep the lines of communicationopen and be interested in what they have discovered online. And perhaps mostimportantly demonstrate by your own behaviours that personal fulfilment cancome from a healthy mix of activities, whether it is a good book, a chat over a hotchocolate, a bracing winter walk, or watching a YouTube funny with friends online.Brought to you byyour library of youMonday, 11 February 2013