New Zealand government is knocking it out of the park with educational (hilarious) videos for parents about how to  keep kids safe online. Parents need to hear this information and share it with their kids. Not just once, but again and again as they get older and have access to more technology.

 Here are four short videos to start the conversation.

Do you know if your child is being cyberbullied or is a cyberbully?

You may assume they know how to be kind and polite online, but kids need our continued guidance on what’s appropriate and how to not cyberbully. Just one error in judgment could cost your child their future.

Here’s a video that encourages parents to stay involved in screen time.  

Cyberbullying is when someone sends, posts or shares negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone, which can include using personal or private information to embarrass or humiliate someone.

Online bullying is unique because it is:

  • Persistent – the internet is 24 hours a day, so it can be hard for kids to get away.
  • Permanent – what’s posted to the internet stays there forever.
  • Hard to notice – online behavior, including bullying, is invisible to adults 

It’s important to set up your family values and expectations in advance so your child knows what’s appropriate and when to ask for help.

If cyberbullying happens

  • Stay calm
  • Role play what your child can do if bullied 
  • Understand the situation. Who is involved? What has happened so far?
  • Block the bully
  • Decide whether to involve the school or other parents
  • Evaluate whether to take away access to the internet, their devices or certain apps
  • Collaborate on a plan to get through this
  • Install BARK, so that you get parental alerts when your child needs more guidance online

What does your child have access to online? Set your parental controls

Technological options like parental controls will help your child stay safe, but no solution is 100% effective. 

Types of parental controls

There are three main types of controls to help you to filter, limit and control the content your child can access:

  • Network controls, set on your wi-fi, which apply to all devices connected in the household.
  • Device controls, which are set at the device level, such as laptop, iPad or smartphones.
  • App controls, which are set directly in the application settings, such as YouTube or Google.

The Bark-O-Matic is a free tool that creates a custom parental controls setting plan for your family, based on what devices you have and which apps your kids use. I highly recommend it.

Have you set parental controls to filter and limit what your kids are watching, searching, sending and receiving online?

Technological options like parental controls will help your child stay safe, but no solution is 100% effective. It is important to have regular conversations with your kids about online safety and refer back to your values and the type of person you want to be online.

Types of parental controls

There are three main types of controls to help you to filter, restrict and control the content your child can access:

  • Network controls (for your wi-fi) which apply to all devices connected in the household.
  • Device controls, which can be set on each device, such as laptop, iPad or smartphones.
  • Platform or app controls, which can be set directly on the application settings, such as YouTube or Google.

Do you know if your child is being groomed by a child predator?

Usually THEY don’t even know they’re chatting with a predator. They think they’re talking to another child. That’s what a predator would like them to think, right? This video explains what “grooming” is (when an adult tries to build a relationship with a child so that they can sexually exploit them. )

Groomers try to build an online relationship with the child though social media or in a forum, complimenting them in an online game or via any other platform for online communication.

Groomers generally will use a fake profile and pretend to be a young person. They might pretend to have an interest or friend in common. Their goal is to move the “friendship” to a private message and then request nude or compromising photos or video. Many times once they have one photo, they will threaten the child with exposure if they don’t continue to send more explicit photos or videos. 

Children feel trapped, ashamed and guilty once this cycle has started. Often they’re too embarrassed to tell an adult.

This is where you can do two things:

1. Continually tell your child there is nothing they could do to ever lose your love or support.

2. Install Bark or another monitoring app so that you’re aware of inappropriate photos, text, messages or memes sent or received.

What if they find pornography (on purpose or accidentally)?

In today’s digital world it’s very easy for children to come across pornography. This can happen by accident, as most sites are free and don’t require any type of age verification, or intentionally out of curiosity. 

It’s normal for young people to be curious about sex. The best way to support them is to have open, honest conversations about what they might see and how it’s different from real sex and relationships. 

To prevent your child from stumbling onto a porn site, you need an internet filter at your router level (like Circle) or through software (parental controls are included in some anti-virus software).

Next step

The Five Circles of Online Safety is where you can review the overview of a solid cyber safety plan. It includes the actions you need to take to keep your kids safe and some conversation starters for your family.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Just pick one topic and commit to starting a conversation with your child today. You can do this.

If you need help, we’re here. Just click here to reach out.

 

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