Needless to say, more and more parents are concerned about what their child is doing online and are becoming ever more watchful of what they are doing.
And it doesn’t come as any surprise; the latest round of AVG’s Digital Diaries study showed that almost one in six 6-to-9 year olds and one in five 8-to-9 year olds have experienced what their parents consider objectionable or aggressive behavior online.
So what can we as parents do about this? It’s not simply a question of relentlessly monitoring, and shoulder surfing, as there needs to be a certain degree of trust between us and our children.
It’s important to talk about the issue directly with our kids, let them know our concerns and establish boundaries and limitations. In fact, according to the focus group we held, these days moms are having the online safety talk before the “sex talk”.
That could simply be because it’s an easier talk to have, or a less awkward one, but it demonstrates a very clear need to have one.
AVG Digital Diaries study showed us that kids are surfing the web in an adult like manner at the age of 11, something we’ve called “digital maturity”. I find this quite frightening, the web is a big place and without sounding paranoid, there are a lot of places unfit for an 11 year old.
With that in mind, I’ve prepared my top five tips for parents to help keep a good digital balance in the household. Not just in terms of safety, but in terms of respect and understanding.
Think about what you, as a parent share online and your family’s digital footprint, and what will be left behind for the children
- Set up circles of family and friends in online social worlds – similarly to how it’s done offline – to help protect your children’s privacy
- Be aware that your child is watching and will probably want to follow your interaction with technology, remember you are leading by example
- Be involved and attentive by helping your child learn good computer skills and embrace a balance between online and offline activities play outside, spend time together as a family, have “techless” days)
- Don’t just install family safety products on desktops, laptops or phones, but learn about them and involve your child, educating your child to behave responsibly online is essential.
The last thing that the mom focus groups in the USA and UK mentioned was that they felt they needed a helping hand and some tools to keep their kids safe online.
AVG has a whole range of tools to help in that respect, including AVG Family Safety which helps prevent cyber-bullying by monitoring chat rooms and social networking sites. Also, keeps an eye on content, monitors time spent on the Internet and provides parents with reports about their child’s online activity.
For more information on AVG Digital Diaries, visit: www.avgdigitaldiaries.com
For more information on AVG Family Safety, visit: www.avg.com/avg-family-safety
January 9, 2013