Today is Safer Internet Day, I am hoping you have heard about this before! This is a day every year where thousands of organisations and charities come together to raise awareness and promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people.
I was kindly invited by the BBC to be on Victoria Derbyshire show, to discuss my experience with little geek and social media. I have to say this was a very enjoyable morning, where I got to meet some interesting characters!
The show was discussing the findings of a Newsround Survey that found that more than three quarters (I think Victoria said 80%) of 10 to 12 year olds in the UK have social media accounts, despite most social networks requiring users to be at least 13, and unbelievably 16 for WhatsApp.
This really didn't come as a surprise to me, as social media is an integral (wrongly or rightly) part of tweens/teens life now days! I even admit that little geek has a snapchat account, and we regularly talk to her about how she is using it, as well as who she is talking to.
If you fancy watching this the video here it is:
The report can be found in more detail here.
I think you will agree that as adults, many of us know the benefits of the internet and social media, but there is also a downside and no doubt most of you have seen some inappropriate content online, but as an adult you are better placed to cope with these and ignore them, report and blog them, but are children? The majority wouldn't be and this is where I feel as parents it is our duty to discuss the internet, social media and the wider world with them and ensure they understand the consequences of using these.
With the Newsround research showing that so many are using social networks I do worry how many parents are aware of this and also how many have discussed this with their children.
Safer Internet Day each year has a theme, this year its theme is
The UK Safer Internet Centre has launched a new report, Creating a Better Internet for All, this is well worth a read, it goes into detail about young people’s experiences of online empowerment and also of online hate.
There is a great quiz on the site that is a good conversation starter to use with your kids about how they use online and the choices they make.
You will also find loads of other resources on the site to help you as a parent.
Another resource that is excellent is the Internet Matters website. There are many guides on there and advice suited for different age groups, a great resource to add to your parenting tool kit!
One that you might find especially useful at the moment is protecting children on YouTube.
With it becoming increasingly popular among young people not only to watch videos on YouTube, be it Stampy Long Nose (or whatever he is called) building detailed worlds in Minecraft or a vlogger updating them on the latest fashion, computer game or travel, but also wanting to start their own channels.
Who can honestly say they are comfortable with the security settings and parental controls on their child's device?
But going back to the main theme of this years Safer Internet Day, the goal is to make our children better digital citizens and making the internet a safer and friendly place for all, hopefully teaching your children to use social media in a respectful and safe way they will in turn remain safe on there but also see the full benefits this networks can bring!
If you have any questions on this topic or need help with settings for your device please feel free to get in touch!