Although my children are only 6 & 3 years of age a lot of modern day life is spent online, we have cancelled our Sky TV package and now only watch YouTube and Netflix. Emmy can navigate these herself and while she only watches shows she likes and is allowed it is only a matter of years before she is sneaking extra screen time in and thinking of about hiding her browser history from us.
I am hoping that she won’t feel this is necessary but having seen friends teens do it I know it is likely to happen and part of growing up – we all like to have some secrets from our parents don’t we?
Both my children have their own tablets, these are both kids Kindles so have the parental controls to limit their screen time, set the hours in which they are able to use it, time out after a set time and of course limit the websites they are actually able to visit while using them.
As they get older these parental controls and limits will be lifted and changed accordingly however no parental control is better than actually talking to your children about what they can find online – the good, the bad and the ugly/evils of the world.
Children will be curious about what is out there online and want to keep up with their friends by having the latest social media channels etc. but as a parent keeping up-to-date is key, a good site to familiarise yourself with is Thinkuknow.co.uk. Thinkuknow is an educational programme from the National Crime Agency’s CEOP command. It aims to ensure that everyone has access to this practical information – children, young people, their parents and carers and the professionals who work with them. It also provides the tools for parents to report any concerns they have about websites their child is accessing or what they have come across while on them.
Alongside the Thinkuknow website the programme provides educational resources, including films, cartoons and lesson plans, to help professionals raise young people’s awareness. The below short video is a modern day adaptation of Romeo & Juliet. It shows their famous story, but in the modern world where young people has access to so many different types of technology and social media networks.
Thinkuknow is also a website that children can use safely and has a few activities and videos which are age appropriate from the ages of 5 through to 14, it also uses appropriate language to help enforce safe internet practice for children.
This is a screenshot from the pages for children of Emmy’s age (5-7 years)
Obviously no website can replace a parent or guardian talking about sex, relationships and internet safety with their children but it can help to give you the tools to do so in a more informed way.
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