How to keep kids safe online

It’s clear that we’re living in a digital age, and boys today run the risk of encountering far more age-inappropriate content than ever before. So how do you keep kids safe online and ensure their digital experience is a positive one?

Internet safety is a big issue in today’s society. Part of our role as educators, along with parents, is to talk to boys about being responsible consumers of technology. Discussion topics could include:

  • The importance of cyber safety
  • The appropriate uses of technology
  • The inappropriate uses of technology
  • The importance of screen time limits.

Whilst technology benefits boys’ lives in so many ways (including aiding their learning), it is still important to monitor online use. Look at how, what, where and when your son is using technology. If not properly managed, technology can become an obstruction to schooling and/or home life. It can lead to negative implications such as over-stimulation, a heavy reliance on technology, disruption to family structure, lack of physical activity and reduced real-life social interactions.

Social media is one of the biggest distractions to children today and with it comes a range of risk factors, especially for younger children. The Australian Government eSafety Commission advises that social media should not be accessed by children under the age of 13 years of age. The risks identified are far beyond the emotional, social and cognitive development of primary-aged children and include (but are not limited to):

  • Cyber bullying
  • Inappropriate, offensive or illegal content
  • Inappropriate contact through online gaming
  • Online pornography
  • Sexting
  • Trolling
  • Unwanted or inappropriate contact.

Educating your son, encouraging balance and supporting a healthy dose of appropriate online content will help him to navigate the digital age safely. Here are some tips on how to keep kids safe online:

  • Be actively involved in monitoring what your son looks at online, what he watches on TV and what video games he plays, and with who. There are plenty of apps available to enable parents to monitor online activity, such as Qustodio, Kaspersky Safe Kids and Net Nanny.
  • Balance time spent on technology with time spent on physical activity and outdoors. Establish a schedule that works for you and your son, does not impact his learning and helps to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Make sure what he is watching is age-appropriate and limit screen time.
  • Observe how your son uses interactive media. It can have a positive influence on children, by promoting pro-social behaviour and increasing visual intelligence to enrich educational experiences.
  • If your son is introverted, technology may suit him to learn positive social skills in a more comfortable environment.

At Christ Church Grammar School, we encourage a healthy and balanced use of technology. This is supported through The Wynne Centre for Boys’ Health and Wellbeing, which strives to educate students and parents on ways to minimise the harmful effects of the digital age. To learn more about how our boys are benefiting from our holistic health and wellbeing approach, download our BGM Magazine.

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