This Safer Internet Day, the best thing you can do it to get curious about your child’s digital life.
The single, most important thing you can do is to talk – and to listen – to them. As they go online, they may well be exposed to unkind behaviour, inappropriate content, or contact with people they don’t know. And they will probably make mistakes, as we all do.
The more you talk, the more you will understand what it’s like to grow up in the digital age – and the better equipped you’ll be to help your child. On a regular basis, ask them what it is great – and not so great – about the apps and websites they use. Find out what they enjoy – and what they dislike – about group texting, gaming, and social media. If they mess up, encourage them to chat to you about it so you can help them approach tricky situations, and learn from their mistakes.
Here are some ideas for conversation starters you can try today…
- Does social media ever make you feel bad? What can you do if it does?
- Do you ever see other kids being mean on social media?
- What sort of things could you do if something (or someone) upsets you online?
- How do you think it feels to have lots of people being mean to you online?
- Do some comments come across as mean when they are trying to be funny?
- How do you decide who to ‘friend’ online? Is it ok to have friends or followers you don’t know?
- What might be the downsides of having friends or followers you don’t know very well?
- How do you decide what to share online? Are there things you should never share?
- Have any of your friends ever shown your messages to someone else? How did this make you feel?
- What could you do if you ‘overshared’ something too personal about yourself?
- Who can see what you post online?
- Is it ok to share pictures of other people?
- How will you feel about your posts next week? Next year? In 5 years’ time?
- What can you do to ensure that you don’t accidentally offend or hurt someone online?
- Do you ever think about not posting something in case others feel left out?
- What could you do if you shared something that a friend didn’t want sharing?
- What could you do if you make a comment that comes out wrong?
- Is it ok to post an embarrassing picture of someone else?
Switching off / digital distraction
- What are the ways that technology distracts us, or keeps us engaged?
- What are the signs that someone is getting obsessed with social media or games?
- How can we ensure we don’t get ‘hooked’ on our devices?
- Are there any of your family’s digital habits you wish you could change?
- Which parts of the house / times of the day could we keep device-free?
Our parent workshops are available for individual and groups of parents (carers and grandparents too!) who would like to improve their digital life skills, or their child’s digital resilience. Contact us if you’d like to find out more.