So here’s the question, would you leave your child alone in a hotel full of strangers’ overnight? Well I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t leave them for a minute. I don’t even allow Joe to go to the toilet alone in a supermarket.
Why? Well, it’s just not safe is it? You don’t know who is amongst us, and what their intentions are? Our children are precious and should be protected, cared for, and who they come into contact with is closely vetted by us, their responsible parents.
However I don’t know about you but both our boys have access to the Internet via tablets, P.Cs and phones. The Internet is such a wonderful place full of exciting learning opportunities. But it also has a dark side, for a parent a worrying side of life, that you never ever want your children to be aware of.
As a parent I consider it my responsibility to shield my family from this, to be one step ahead of the game, especially with new apps and websites appearing weekly.
Internet Matters is a charity that helps us parents with this; you see, I want the boys to enjoy all the opportunities that the Internet has to offer. It is an incredibly positive media if managed correctly. And Internet Matters works on the premise that knowledge and discussion are power.
It has a variety of options and covers almost every problem that can arise through Internet use, it advises parents how to recognise signs of negative Internet use. It guides on how to discuss and agree what are acceptable sites to visit, and how to restrict and monitor how your children use the Internet to keep them safe online.
I will be honest it has surprised me how many types of media there are. Even toys have Internet access. It is reassuring that there is somewhere I can go to check the latest apps out, because lets face it, with all the will in the world it is so hard to keep up to date with the latest sites and apps the boys use.
I have a strict policy on social media, Joe is not allowed to use social media sites, he is only 9 and not aware of the dangers. He does have Instagram, but on the agreement it is on full privacy mode, and he only has school friends as followers. He is not allowed to follow any one without checking with us first. We have also discussed the dangers of inappropriate Internet use and bullying on online, and what to do if he is worried about anything somebody says to him.
Jack however does have social media, we have discussed the dangers and the fact that he is not to talk to anybody he doesn’t know online. He also understands that we will check and monitor whom he speaks to for his own safety.
Internet matters provides comprehensive guides on all kinds of media, apps and issues that can arise and offers advice on how to deal with these issues. It’s a great place to sit down with your children and discuss safety and why it is important, what are the risks and how they can stay safe online. It also has video guides that are quick and snappy to watch yet get the point across. It really is a site that all parent no matter how pc savvy should use.
Tots 100 are hosting a Twitter chat with Stuart Miles, editor of Pocket Lint, and Internet Matters on Tuesday at 1pm. Pop along and ask any questions you have, and also check out the site as trust me as a parent I thought I was totally clued up on this, but I have learnt quite a lot about which sites to watch out for, dangers signs and how to include the boys in being aware of their own internet safety.