As families are homebound due to the COVID-19 virus, cybersafety and cybersecurity have become even more important. Children are spending more time online and the cyber dangers out there seem to be increasing. This has become a challenge for parents who are managing work, online learning, and increased parenting duties.
Here are a list of 5 tips for CyberSafety for families during COVID-19.
- Make online time a social activity in the house. Connect with pre-teens and teens using the very social media platforms they are using – Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, etc. Parental presence as a participant will lead to greater safety.
- No technology use behind closed doors…for anyone. If parents are going to surf or be on Social Media they should do it in common rooms, just as the children should. Charge devices in common rooms, and don’t allow them bedrooms, toilets, or behind closed doors. This may not work for video conferencing or certain work activities, but try to avoid those hidden spaces.
- Encourage dialog. Talk about what you see, share funny memes, don’t judge when a child shares something inappropriate. Discuss them openly and make the habit of sharing a safe activity. Parents should also share some of their experiences with children, both good and bad (though not inappropriate or NSFW content), so children feel in partnership rather than being controlled by parents.
- Set rules and guidelines and try to stick to them. Child must know what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour before they engage in online activities and they need to know consequences.
- Monitor and review activity on devices. It is important for parents to check search histories, read messages, look through photo streams, and review content that was posted by children to make sure they are safeguarded both as victims and those misbehaving.
CyberSafety comes through intention and partnership with children, not through heavy controls or limits.
Please Contact Me for further help and advice on CyberSafety or Digital Citizenship.
I work as an Educational Technology consultant at International EdTech committed to helping schools use technology successfully. I frequently present at conferences on Educational Leadership, Learning Technology, IT, and Data Systems. I am also a a published author focusing on Educational Technology, International Education, and Leadership.