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27th Apr 2021
Kirsty-Ann’s Story

Who is walking through your front door?

8th Apr 2021

Making the decision to allow your child to access the internet via their digital devices is a big one for most parents. A turning point from which it is difficult to return. So, it is imperative to handle it in the best possible way to ensure clear boundaries and to help keep your children safe.

Many parents can be oblivious to the risks the online world poses. Whilst they would never entertain the thought of allowing strangers access to their children in the physical world, they don’t apply that same level of oversight to their interactions in the online world and with that the door is opened to a large element of risk.

Take the analogy of your front door for example. If I were to say to you that this evening you should open your front door and allow whoever happens to wander past to walk in. Allow them to walk straight up to your child’s bedroom and chat to them alone without your knowledge that they were even in your house you would, I’m sure, react in horror. Why then is it a different matter when it comes to the online world?

Because if your child is sat alone in the bedroom with online settings enabled on gaming devices or access to the internet on their digital devices then you are allowing the equivalent to happen to them online. You have no control over who is approaching them and who is contacting them and more worryingly you are relying on their ability to spot if they are being cat-fished, groomed or bullied. As parents we have to ensure we parent in the online world as well as we parent in the physical world. How then can we do that?

  1. Speak to your child about your concerns. Use the ‘open door’ analogy as its one that will make sense to them.
  2. Set boundaries. Perhaps, for example, say that any online access must take place downstairs, or in your presence.
  3. Create a ‘safe space’ for your child either in terms of where they can access the internet, or perhaps a time at which they must log off.
  4. Ensure location settings are disabled on their devices.
  5. Make sure your child is aware not to leak any personal information online no matter who they believe they are talking to.
  6. Explain to your child that people can easily hide their identities online. Discuss the concept of ‘cat-fishing’ with them.
  7. Ensure they know to come to you if they have worries or concerns.
  8. Utilise timers to monitor screen time/internet usage.
  9. Use our website to apply relevant privacy settings to apps they are using. If you can’t see what you are looking for then ask us.
  10. Report any inappropriate contact with your child.

We now live in a world where the online world is an accepted part of a child’s life. We need to therefore make sure we are in control of that and monitoring their use of it. Knowledge is power. Let’s make sure we empower ourselves to keep our children safe.


Written by Lucy Howard, BulliesOut Digital Communications Officer

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