don't put your head in the handA Few Pieces of Advice for Parents

There is no substitute for open and regular conversations and interaction with your children, to help educate them about how to stay safe online. Sometimes, however, we need a little help in identifying the facts and finding the best way to approach the subject.

Try and remember the five core ‘cyber parenting’ tips that can help achieve online safety.

Connect: Frequently chat with your children about online risks, and make sure the communication lines are open. Also stay knowledgeable about the newest and latest social networks and how they work if your kids are on them.

Password Rules: Explain the dangers of sharing online passwords, but also ensure that as a parent you have access to passwords, sites and your children’s devices, so you can periodically check what’s being said and done. Also regularly check the privacy settings.

Apps: Parents should know which ones your children are using and ensure that they have come via reputable app stores. They also need to examine the privacy disclosures and settings, and if they share locations, be sure that only the right people have access to that location information.

Games: Simply checking the age rating is not enough! We’ve all heard about kids racking up massive online “in game” purchases (which you’ll want to avoid), but certain games also allow chat with other players. So be sure your kids are careful about the information they disclose.

Browser settings: It goes without saying that controlling what your children can assess via the internet needs careful managing. With smartphones becoming ever more powerful, more information can be easily accessed. You may have agreed to a data download bundle, but do you know what content are they accessing? Regularly ask what they’ve been searching for.

Worryingly many parents and carers are not aware of the dangers online and how people are exploiting software. Neither do they know how to best protect family and friends. You cannot always be looking over your child’s shoulder, and it’s not just about monitoring what they do; rather helping children learn how to identify the dangers for themselves and so avoid them.  Taking simple steps like periodically checking the privacy settings on Facebook is so important, but all too often overlooked. We wouldn’t let a child play near water if they didn’t understand the dangers, but we are all too happy to let them pick up a digital device and interact with total strangers!

Don’t be that uninvolved parent whose child gets into potential trouble using the internet. Regular communication is key when it comes to teaching them about online safety. Gooseberry Planet lets children learn in a fun and safe way, while at the same time developing their own judgment skills about keeping safe online – which is far better than simply blocking their use altogether.