Benefits of being online
Not using the internet in the modern world means missing out on much that is happening in society. It’s where the first news appears, where the most analysis is, and increasingly it’s the first choice for newspapers, TV, films, music and games.
Kids know this, and often feel no fear or concern about diving into whatever the internet has to offer. However, whether you’re using the information super highway or just the highway, it pays to be careful.
- News – It’s the first place to hear what’s new, from pop trivia to world events and everything in-between
- Socialising – From email to instant messaging, social networks to dating sites, most people today do at least some of their socialising online, whether they’re keeping up with friends and family or meeting new people
- Education – It’s the biggest library in the world, and most of it’s free to access. Increasingly, schools and universities are using the internet to distribute homework and learning resources
- Entertainment – Music, films, even books are now not only sold, but listened to, watched and even read online
Concerns about child safety online
Just because the internet is a large part of kids’ lives doesn’t mean it’s entirely harmless. A bit like learning to cross the road, there are rules for using the internet that will help keep children safe and make the most of the opportunities it offers, rather than suffering from the dangers.
The good news is that if you’re concerned, you’re not alone, and there are plenty of resources available to help you. And although there are some dangers lurking in cyberspace, they are plenty of actions that you and your children can take that will keep them perfectly safe online.
…not just the ones that you might imagine. Yes, cyberbullying, cybercrime, cyberstalking and the risk of exposure to inappropriate words and pictures all exist, but by learning about the dangers, taking some sensible precautions and using common sense, you should be able to see the internet as a friend, not a foe.
It seems obvious, but just because your children seem to know more about the internet than you do, doesn’t mean you haven’t got anything to teach them. The details may have changed but all the old rules about being wary of strangers and being careful what you say still applies. You won’t be able to look over their shoulder all the time, but as your children grow up you can educate and empower them to make the right choices online: about what is appropriate content, how to use social networking sites safely, prevent cyberbullying and many other issues.
Sign up to the sites they’re using, like Facebook or Twitter, so you get an idea of what’s involved. If they have questions you’ll be able to answer them, and if you come across any issues, you can discuss them with your kids.