As a busy mum of 4, I often feel that my brain is in overload. Too much information – not enough time (or space!) Managing a job, a team of kids and their activities, homework and social lives plus the mandatory domestics, your own social life and then family commitments can feel simply overwhelming.
So, it is totally understandable if you just haven’t had the time to be on top of your kids’ cyber lives. We are human after all!
In recognition of the relentless demands of modern life, McAfee joined forces with Life Education in 2012 to support Aussie kids and their families around the issue of cybereducation. To date, a whopping 350,000 kids have benefitted from Life Education’s two cybersafety modules which are accredited by the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner.
But what about the parents? The Life Education website has a great range of articles and resources with tips and support for parents to help you manage your kids and the digital world. In addition, I am pleased to announce that a series of Vodcasts (or videos) that cover strategies for keeping kids safe online are now available for parents. Why not tune in to get the latest statistics, research and advice on the best ways to help you and your kids navigate the digital world?
However if you are after immediate action, then here are my top 5 things you can do right now to create the right environment at your house to keep your kids safe online:
- Create a Charging Zone – Why not set up a designated area where all devices can be charged – and stored? This is a great way of extricating the devices from bedrooms at night.
- Consider a Family Technology Contract – Many families are opting to set out expectations for online behaviour in a formal agreement. This can include time spent online, sites that can be visited and what information is suitable to share online. If you’re looking for a template, check out this ‘Internet Contract’ from A Modern Parent.
- Join the Social Media Platforms Your Kids Are Using – Yes, all of them. This is a great way of truly understanding how it all works. You’ll also establish a little ‘tech cred’ – which means your kids are more likely to come to you if there is a problem.
- Pledge to Stay Calm & NOT Threaten to Disconnect – If your kids come to you with a problem they are experiencing online, it is essential that you do NOT ‘go crazy’ and threaten to disconnect them. If you do this, I can guarantee that you will never hear about another problem again which isn’t ideal. Our kids need us to help them problem solve. So, pledge to stay calm. Perhaps invest in yoga classes or a meditation app!
- Start Collecting Your Own Online Stories To Share With Your Kids – Sharing stories of things you have seen online such as workmates slightly inappropriate Facebook posts – and the consequences – with your kids is a great way of starting a real conversation about safe digital behaviour.
Parenting in the digital age is definitely not easy. In fact, it can be really hard. So let’s make the journey a little easier and share our know-how and experiences. Make yourself a cuppa and check out the Life Education Vodcasts. And then please share your feedback online using #cybersafety or on my Cybermum Facebook page.