Saturday 23 November 2013

Internet safety for children.

After writing about my online habits I started thinking about how technology has changed over the years and how the internet, social media and the technology we take for granted now was only a mere futuristic idea 20 to 30 years ago whilst now in 2013 it is an integral part of most people’s lives.

With technology, computers, the internet and social media being a fundamental part of most people’s lives across the country our way of life has slowly changed over the years with the use of technology becoming intertwined in our daily life.  Even though pastimes such as reading books,  printing photographs and keeping them in albums, buying cassette tapes and then CD’S, shopping exclusively on the high street, playing board games and writing handwritten letters have not completely disappeared from our lives with technology being so prominent and weaved into our daily lives such pastimes have had a technological twist.  Google books and kindles are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to books, classic cameras using photographic film have been replaced with digital cameras and photographs are shared online rather than printed off and cherished in photograph albums, music is digitally downloaded instead of bought as CD’s, online shopping is becoming commonplace as an alternative to shopping on the highstreet, technology has puts its spin on games with gaming consoles and handled gaming devices being very popular with both young and old and handwritten letters with their personal and romantic touch are being overshadowed by emails, digital conversations, texts, mobile phone conversations and social media.

Image courtesy of Norton.

As technology is ever developing and is often an integral part of daily life, children born into this technological world have technology intertwined into their life and are increasingly becoming digital little people.  Even though I think that children are still doing the things that children have always done and are enjoying the same carefree, fun activities I did when growing up such as imaginative play, rough and tumble and playing outdoors there is no denying the role technology has in children’s lives and the fact that this generation of children are growing up wired into the technological era we are experiencing.

I must confess technology, the internet and social media do play a substantial part in my daily life and Bug often witnesses me making use of the technological era we live in.  From a very young age Bug has witnessed my use of technology and the internet, being very intrigued with all aspects of technology and what mummy is doing when she is tapping away on her laptop.  Bug’s interest of all things technological was so prominent that from a young age he would swipe my mobile as if he was a professional pickpocket and have a little play on my smartphone, swiftly navigating through the menus to play games which he quickly mastered.  Being a gadget mad little boy Bug loves playing games on my smartphone or laptop, he adores watching his favourite cartoons on my laptop thanks to cBeebies online and he has so much fun being a budding photographer snapping away on my camera.

With Bug being so interested in any gadgets he can get his little hands on and born into a world enriched with technology where internet enabled devices are everywhere, as a parent it is my responsibility to educate Bug about technology.  Being a parent in this digital age it is important that I teach my son netiquette, how to stay safe online and ensure our computer is child friendly because I know that in a blink of an eye my little boy will delve deeper into the world of technology and in the future he will be trawling the world wide web and paddling in the realms of social media.

Being a digital mama to a child who will most likely be hardwired into technology and the internet in the future, technology is one concern I will have to delicately juggle from the spectrum of parenting concerns.  Thankfully as Bug is only at the tender age of 2 and a half issues such as cyberbullying, cybercrime and online predators are not relevant as yet especially as his time with technology and the internet is limited, fully supervised and restricted to selected websites and games.  However I am fully aware that time will swiftly pass and before I know it my little boy will no longer be so little and young and he will be making his own digital footprint and want to make his own decisions about his use of technology and internet activity.  Being aware of the potential issues that the internet can pose both Bug’s dad and I will endeavour to inform him about online safety and the steps he should follow to ensure his safety online.

Both Lee and I believe that positive parental involvement and keeping an open and honest dialogue with Bug as we endeavour to educate him about online safety is an important step in keeping our son aware of the problems that the internet can pose.  As well as educating him about not sharing passwords with anyone even friends, ensuring he does not befriend strangers and making sure he does not share personal information online, one step to ensure he is safeguarded online that we already have in place is a security program with parental control settings to restrict and monitor a child’s access to online sites.  As well as using a security program to help keep our child safe online we also make use of Google in safe mode.  With online safety being a parenting concern I get advice from other parents about how best to deal with online safety for children and I also keep up-to-date with articles provide advice about protecting children online and that address how to keep children safe online and what security system provides the best security and parental control settings.  As well as looking at positive reviews about internet security programs I also keep informed about parental control programs fail to filter explicit content, helping us choose the best family security program that would provide premium features and benefits.

Hopefully by keeping our child informed and educated about online safety and making use of security programs and safety tools online will keep our child safe as he delves into the wondrous World Wide Web.

*  This post was brought to you in conjunction with Norton's Learning Centre *

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