3rd Aug 2022
‘Should I get my child a phone’ is question we get asked a lot. In a world where children want to be online like never before, it’s a constant challenge between parents and children over the appropriate age to get a phone. First of all, there is no one size fits all answer to this question. It’s a decision that will be unique to both your child and your family. But it’s not a decision to take lightly or one that a parent should feel pressured into making.
Letting them access the online world means putting a huge amount of trust in them, and places a big responsibility on their shoulders – and parents need to ensure they are ready for that.
Where online bullying is concerned there are a few key things to bear in mind when making these sorts of decisions. Here at BulliesOut we use the analogy ‘You need to know who is walking through your front door.’
When a child is given access to the internet, and they are allowed to use it in the privacy of their bedrooms, it can be the same as opening the front door of your home and letting whoever walks in from the street to walk upstairs to your child’s bedroom and speak to them about any subject of their choice without your knowledge. That is why it is so important that parents know what their children are doing when they are using those devices, and most importantly, who are they speaking to.
A child who is being bullied face-to-face needs to know they have a safe space at home and this also applies to a child who is bullied online. However, that safe space may look different but it’s vital you have one and your child understands what it is. Even if it something they don’t want, it is something they need!
It is also important to ask them about their time online. What games do they play? Who do they interact with? Questions such as these allow you to gain an insight into their communications
and you will then be able to notice and shifts in behaviour. They are also far more likely to make disclosures to you if these conversations are taking place on a regular basis.
If this is an area you would like to know more about, why not sign up to one of our free E-Safety for Parents sessions? Find out more here.
Remember: We are here to help. You don’t have to do it all alone.
Lucy Howard, BulliesOut Head of Content & Media.
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