Being a geek is a good thing for my kids!

I am a geek (as the name suggest!), I love everything technology, if you have seen my post for The Dad Network, you will know that I have a bit of a love affair with technology.

Credit: Flickr/ Jenny downing  

Credit: Flickr/ Jenny downing

 

But it doesn't stop there, I also love the internet! I was one of the first among friends to be on most of the social media networks, because its what I like.  If its new and a change then the chances are I will explore it and want to understand it, inside and out! 

Now how has this helped me as a parent? its simple, I am ahead of the game!   Kids these days can pick up a new bit of technology, be it a new smartphone or tablet and will be up to speed on its functions quicker than most adults!  This is great but they don't alway understand the dangers this new technology or this new website can bring!  That is when being a tech savvy parent can really help out.

The most recent example of this is Meerkat Apps or Periscope, making sure I knew how to use these and understand them meant that if / when they ask me if they can use them or for Ashleigh if she asks my advice (which she often does, being an adult herself) I understood what they were talking about, I also understood the dangers of them!

Stats released by AVG today have confirmed why this is a good thing!  They have under taken research to reveal the extent of children's exposure to inappropriate content online.

Now let me give you some figures:

Headline findings from their research (conducted among 2,200 UK parents) include:

-          More than a third (35%) of UK children have encountered dangers online while at home – a figure that rises to 40% among tech-savvy ‘tweens’

-          Despite this, a quarter (24%) of all parents have no plans, whatsoever, to educate their children about online risks

-          And the older children get, the worse this figure gets, with one in four (39%) parents of 10-12 year olds, and two thirds (62%) of parents with 13-16 year olds having no such plans

-          When asked why, two in five (44%) parents believe their child is sensible enough to know what to avoid online (I really find this stat shocking, would you say the same if talking to your kids about sex or alcohol?)22% think it will just be too awkward to discuss (I am sorry but awkward conversations come with being a parent!), and one in seven (14%) simply don’t think it’s necessary

Apparently depending on where in the UK you are will depend on how likely you are to encounter  dangers online.  No surprise that London is the highest with just over half (51%) are likely to encounter these dangers, where as the safest is the South West or East of England down at 27%!

So my question to you is what have you done if your children are at or approaching the age where they will start to be online more?

What are you going to do?

My simple steps to allowing your kids to use the internet safely are as follows:

  • First and foremost, talk to them!  Tell them why it is a great thing, an excellent tool but also tell them about the dangers (of course appropriately for you kids age!)
  • Use parental control settings and explain to your children its not a punishment but to keep them safe!, if you use a Mac then I have used this post in the past to discuss the settings you can change etc (I will pull together another one for iOS!)
  • Keep up to speed with what is new and remember a lot of internet for kids is mobile, on iPhone etc and apps update often!
  • Beware of Freemium apps, I have heard (more so on android) that some inappropriate adverts have appeared on some apps! 
  • Check out the CEOP's website for Parents hints and tips!
  • Finally remember to keep the devices you use secure, if your child knows the password for your devices then having security on theirs is pointless!  

If there is anything I have missed.... I will update you but wanted to share these stats as soon as I got them! This is not a paid post, but AVG provided the stats above and are always working to help educate parents of the dangers of the internet and what they can do to protect themselves!