Now my eldest is nine and has his first (very basic) mobile phone I want him to be more aware of the dangers of being on the Internet. He has parental controls in place and is not signed up to any social media sites (many of his friends already have their own instagram accounts) so we are being careful. But I can’t cover him in cotton wool forever, its better to be aware of the risks of being online. It’s time to have that talk.
At the moment he is not interested in having his own accounts, he just wanted a phone so I would let him play out occasionally without me hovering by his side! But as the years slide by and he gets closer to his teens I am sure we will be entering a whole new minefield when he might be attracted to girls rather than think they are bleurgh and want to interact online with them. So instead of putting it off I think its better to educate him now, hopefully he will then be more likely to come to me if he has a problem.
I am also going to direct my son to the Thinkuknow site so he can learn to navigate the Internet safely. Children can play games and get further information to become savvier when they are online from the ages of 5 through to 14+. They can learn that not everyone using the Internet is nice and what steps they can take to protect themselves, like never using their real name or listing their address. Least if you have had the chat you can put ground rules in place for acceptable behaviour online and illustrate the risky ones to avoid!
Thinkuknow have also made a modern day Romeo and Juliet film you can watch below which shows the part technology and social media can play in the saga.
I think it’s commendable that Thinkuknow really want to raise awareness of the importance of taking to your child about sex, relationships and the Internet. It’s much better if you are approachable so your child will open up to you about what is going on in their lives, sadly when they don’t like these two star crossed lovers things don’t always turn out well. It might not be the easiest conversation to have but there is always plenty of support available on the Thinkuknow website to guide parents in the right direction.