Did you know 84% of parents are worried about their child's online safety but only spend a total of 46 minutes talking to their children about online security through their entire childhood? It's important to have regular conversations with your child so that they are aware of the risks they might be exposed to and how to deal with them. This will also help them know that they can come to you if they are upset by something they've seen online.
Here are some top tips on how to open up a dialogue with your child about online safety:
Have free and frank discussions
Encourage your child to talk to you about how they use the internet and show you what they do. Discuss with them the kinds of things they might come across. A good time to talk is when they get a new device or mention a new website.
Help manage their devices
Encourage them to use their tech devices in a communal area such as the living room or kitchen and set up a user account for your child. If you think they aren't old enough to have a mobile phone or tablet, stay firm and explain the reasons why.
Put yourself in control
Activate parental controls on your home broadband, all devices including mobile phones and games consoles. Safe search settings can also be activated on Google (and other search engines), YouTube and on entertainment sites like iTunes and iPlayer.
Have an agreement
Agree and set boundaries with them or have a family agreement for their internet use, including when and where they can use portable devices and for how long, before they get used to doing their own thing.
Make your child feel comfortable
Open the conversation by asking them for advice on how to do something online. And if they share an online experience with you, be sensitive and praise them, listening to their experience and talking through what steps they should take to cope with it.
Use this list of practical tips to help introduce children pre-teens to have a safer online experience and build up their resilience to get the best out of the digital world as they grow. Keeping the dialogue open will help support your child as they start to navigate the digital world and be exposed to online risks.
Click below to find a range of helpful tools and expert tips for further support and the complete online safety guide by age group:
Online safety guide 11 – 13 years
As your child makes the important transition from primary to secondary school make sure your knowledge increases with theirs.