Tuesday 6 February was designated as Safer Internet Day 2018 around the World and it’s theme was “Create, Connect and Share Respect : A Better Internet starts with You”. A link to this subject is www.saferinternetday.org and it is a very good site which is targeted at Schools and particularly at Junior Cert Students. Psychotherapist and Author, Anne McCormack, wrote a very good article on the subject in the Irish Times Health + Family. She states that the Safer Internet Day serves as a reminder for Parents. It reminds us of the need to create space to connect with our Children on an on-going basis in relation to how life online is impacting them and making them feel. We must support them to show respect online to both themselves and others. Their safety is of the essence. She states it is unsafe to allow children unlimited and / or unsupervised access to the Internet and other social media. This guidance is on-going even as children grow older.
Some simple steps are advocated :
- Parental Control and Internet Filters.
- Understand the difference between “Internet Use” and “Social Media Use”. Be clear on the difference.
- Discuss the social media App and the site. Supervise the use if access is allowed.
- Be aware of age restrictions of the sites.
- Discuss adolescence and the natural need for communications.
- Develop a bond with the child.
- Get to know and understand the internet and social media. Be smart !
There is a lot of discussions at the moment on the advisability of the use of smart phones and whether there should be age restrictions on the purchase of these phones by younger children. It will be interesting to see where this goes.