For every parent who has ever felt frustrated at understanding technology, there's a teen who looks on in amusement. Or does that version of the digital divide feel foreign to you? In any event, a study from Young And Well in Australia titled "Enhancing Parents' Knowledge and Practice of Online Safety" has just come out and includes a list I just had to share with all of you. Be sure to read the full report, filled with ideas about how parents can do a better job understanding online risk for their kids and improving trust through communication. (Sounds like "The Talk" is still in vogue!)
10 things parents should know about supporting their child's online safety (source: Young and Well study Feb. 2013)
A list created by young people for parents
1. What is "said" online is permanent.
2. Children will be able to find their way around most security measures if they want to.
3. Educate yourself about the sites that your children use.
4. Learn how to report something you thnk is inappropriate or dangerous on the sites your children use.
5. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, are not "the problem". Rather, it's the way they are used that can be an issue.
6. Be aware of how advertisers use sites like Facebook.
7. Understand that most online relationships start offline - if your child is being bullied online, it is probably happening offline too.
8. Know what to look for in your child's online relationships, and what makes a positive or negative relationship...but also trust your intuition.
9. Get your own Facebook account and become "friends" with your child.
10. Overall, trusting your child is the best prevention for children doing the wrong thing!
I love that these tips came directly from the young people who participated in the research. Notice how none of the advice is about heavy duty monitoring of the children's online activities or their devices. Yes, there's a role for parental control software like Norton Family, especially for younger children. Be sure to read the study and learn about the recommendations for older children to educate younger children about online safety. I've always said that can be a great way to go!!