The whole cyber world is a wake up call to the importance of having open and honest conversations with our kids.
The ‘out there’ stuff that our kids could be exposed to on the internet and through social media is scary! In simple terms it is like letting our kids watch snippets from M, MA, R and X rated movies unsupervised!
Sure the parent controls that allow us to set up restrictions help, but what’s to stop our gorgeous kids looking at a friend’s phone or device with no restrictions?
We have to talk to our kids honestly about this technological stuff!
We have to tell our kids that the whole cyber world is a GROWN UP world that is moving so quickly that it is hard to set things up to keep kids safe.
We have to explain to our kids that the reason for rules like:
- Parental controls, including checking the sites you’ve been on
- I have to be your friend on social media
- Not allowed to use it in your bedroom after lights out
Or whatever rules we impose are mainly because of OTHER people’s use of the internet and social media (and of course the fact that our kids are human and curious too!)
We have to be honest and tell our kids that we are scared they will stumble upon inappropriate stuff that is shady and posted by people with incredibly shady personalities and that those ideas and images are not suitable for them. We need to tell them it would be exactly like letting them watch snippets of MA, R and X rated movies.
Our kids don’t have the life lessons to make sense of the grown up world yet! Exactly like they don’t have the life lessons to drive a car or sit for the end of high school exams – all this comes with time, if they do it before they are ready they will crash and fail!
Our kids also need to know that when they do see something shady or inappropriate that they can come and talk to us about it. Because with our guidance that is how they will learn. We won’t yell at them, ground them and take their device off them (because if we do they won’t tell us again)! We will listen to them and do our best to help them make sense of the world. It may mean having a conversation that is uncomfortable and in our opinion ‘too old’ for our kids, but sorry to say the world is not like it used to be, if we don’t change with it our kids will be on their own!
If you want more on keeping your child safe in the cyber world, just Google it. There are plenty of tips out there. (Locally there is cybermumaus.com) But remember the best tool you have is an open, honest and unconditionally loving relationship with your child.