Cyber Safety – What parents should do…

As the internet continues to form an inherent part of our social fabric and children go online at ever younger ages, parents need to arm themselves with tools to help guide their offspring through this exciting, though potentially daunting cyber-world.

Internet usage by children has substantially increased over the last five to six years. Furthermore, children are also going online when they are younger.

MCA’s latest study ‘Children’s Internet Use and Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Online Experience’, states 99’4% of children in primary and secondary schools have access to the internet and 78% of children look to their parents for information related to the internet.

These facts underline the importance of parental support and guidance when using the internet.’s 6 Golden Rules

Below are the other steps parents can take to help their children be safe online.

  1. Keep an open diologue with your child
  2. Set up parenting controls
  3. Spend time with your child using the technology they use
  4. Agree boundaries and set rules
  5. Keep up to date with technology
  6. Pay attention to age ratings when choosing activities for your child

In the tumultuous and every-changing cyberworld, parents can take action to try and support their children in navigating the wide and sometimes scary world of the internet. The amount of information and the speed at which trends reverse can be overwhelming, especially for parents brought up in a more technologically-bereft age. Parents can take back some measure of control by following a few easy steps.

The foundation of all of these is keeping an open dialogue. Speaking to your child about their internet usage is the best way to keep your child safe. The subjects brought up by internet safety may be prickly and difficult to tackle but regardless, parents need to get comfortable talking about these things with their children.

You should treat the online world in same way you already treat the world offline. Parents, encourage the dialogue with your children by showing an interest in the websites and social media platforms they use. Take the initiative to use the internet and learn about the latest technologies, apps and platforms. Platforms like are a useful tool for parents to support and simplify this type of research.

Discuss the benefits and dangers of the internet and ask your children about what they do to keep themselves safe. The aim of this is to make sure your child will turn to you if they face a difficult or abusive situation. Take the initiative to remain in touch with the cyberworld and ask friends or other parents for ideas on what they are doing to keep informed on the matter.

Article published on Child Magazine – May 2015.

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