Today I’m answering a question from a reader. It’s one I get often actually and it’s about time I talked about it on the blog!
My kids are getting older and won’t tell me what they are doing online – how do I make sure they are being safe online?
As our kids get older, hit high school and start becoming more independent, it’s natural that they don’t want to share everything with us in the same way they have done. To us it might look like they are withdrawing but it’s really normal for them to want to have some privacy.
It’s part of becoming an adult and lets them figure their way through things on their own – friendship problems, maybe also managing school work and work-work and girlfriends/boyfriends. Just like with everything else, we want to help our kids through this, of course.
With technology it can feel really scary when they start interacting online in ways we don’t know about or even understand. You might even be tempted to turn off the wifi and take away the devices
My advice is: Don’t Unplug!
Our children need to understand how to deal with situations and a head-in-the-sand-turn-it-all-off approach doesn’t teach them anything.
Of course if there is some serious bullying going on, get some help from your school and maybe even your local police station. But turning off the device won’t help them the next time something untoward happens.
The best thing we can do is to start early with cyber-safety. As I say over and over again, you need to ask about what they are doing and be interested in what they answer.
Be involved early – before they hit the I-need-my-privacy stage – and have them use the devices in a public space where you can look over their shoulder and ask about what they are up to.
As they get older, you might not be able to see what they are doing online, but you can still ask. It’s not prying to ask how that game is going or whether they’d come across anything new or interesting lately. Even ask them to teach you a skill if you need – a great way to have a chance to work together and chat!
We want to trust our kids as they hit the mid-teens, but we want to be sure we are doing what we can too – just keep talking and make sure you listen to what they have to say!
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