What would you do if you found out that your child was getting unwanted attention online? In all likelihood our parental instinct would be to protect a child by insulating them: delete the accounts, remove the app or take the device away. However, this might be counter-productive.
Every generation has things that children or teenagers aren’t allowed. This did not necessarily stop us from having them; what we learnt about was keeping secrets. As I recall, a school friend of mine hid his Nokia 3310 from his mum for years. However, it is a different world now with different consequences. Past messages, photos and videos are returning to haunt famous people, in the digital age an embarrassing post can be copied and never truly be deleted.
Explaining and managing risks, in an accessible way, to a child may even prevent a problem arising. However, if one does, taking away a favourite app, game or device is according guilt and blame to a child who is likely to be the victim of a situation. Sure, doing so may fix the first problem but will it fix the next? Resolving a situation may require helping a child figure out what a measured solution should be.
Fostering an open dialogue means sometimes masking our adult anxieties and addressing each situation in a way that leaves the door open for children to feel comfortable for when the next problem arises.
As you mull these e-safety thoughts over, you are allowed to enjoy today’s e-safety podcast!