One of the biggest leap of faith I have to take while raising teenagers is having the courage to trust them when using the internet. While I can keep an eye on where they go when out and about and for how long (the advantage of living in a village) when it comes to letting them loose online, it’s one place I’m all to aware that they’re one step ahead of me.
Gone are the days where we had rules about only being online when I’m in the same room and choosing / vetting any websites they go on. These days, it’s a fine line between giving them the privacy that all teenagers crave while reminding them of the rules of keeping away from the deep dark web.
As a mum (or dad ) so many scenarios haunt you; from cyber bullying, violence, using and learning bad language and pornography. You here the stats all the time, one study by Kaspersky, the global cyber security company, of 5040 children age 10-15 found that over 2/3’s  had heard bad language, a 1/3 had witnessed violence online and 1/4 seen pornography. Not happy reading for any parent is it?

So that’s my wake up call, I need to up my game and find that balance as those are pretty scary statistics and I’m pretty sure my boys would know how to find anything I’d find worrying! So what am I going to do about it?
First things first, I’m going to have THE CHAT (again) I’m pencilling in a nice, tea time slot or maybe a car journey, yeah, a car journey would be better. Side ways conversations always work well with boys, minimum eye contact and all that. And then, once said chat has been executed and received, I’m going to look at ways to make sure I’m back holding the protective reins once again.
All be it a little slacker, and maybe sneakier than before.
Disclaimer
This is a collaborative post with Kaspersky and a reminder to check your parental controls! 
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I’m writing this post as a reminder to myself to keep check on the parental controls on all the devices my kids have. It’s been really easy to let things slip as they get a little older but compared to how I was with my older son, the tween has a lot more freedom. While I’m fully aware that this whole parenting game is pretty much trial and error (should profusely apologise to my teenager at this point, he has been a total learning curve) now I’ve settled into the role and am a lot more confident that I’m doing ok, I’ve been free wheeling with the tween.

But he’s the quiet one, the one which won’t make a fuss and just go about his day playing his xbox, checking his phone and watching TV when we’re home, while my lively toddler takes up a lot of my time. We always used to joke that my sister, the middle child, only ever appeared so well behaved (compared to me) because she was so quiet and in hindsight, she wasn’t the total squeaky clean teen we all thought she was. Silence was her virtue, where as open and nonchalant me got away with nothing!

So I’m using that gift of hindsight to take a reality check on my quiet little 12 year old and setting up parental controls on his iPhone, sorry son! He’s at such a vulnerable and impressionable age and the internet can be a dark, dark place. I had been using a Home Halo device to filter unsuitable websites to their devices. The peace of mind it gave me was invaluable but since that packed in, I’m relying on the BT broadband parental controls as well as setting up the correct ages on all their apple devices and keeping check on browsing histories that they’re not access anything they shouldn’t which has slipped the net.

KidzInMind is an ‘app of apps’, unlocking over £50 worth of educational games and apps that can be played by children on smartphones & tablets

Social networking is a big scare factor for any parent theses days but I do feel it’s something which we have to allow. I regularly check my tween’s followers and at 12 I think it’s not unreasonable to know his passcodes, making sure we have that conversation about staying safe online  and for him to know that I’ll be doing it so he can exercise a little self control.

My real concerns, however, are when he’s searching the web and the possibility of him stumbling on things by mistake.  knowing where to start when your kids get new devices is a total mine field though. Even a technology loving mum like myself is finding it harder to stay ahead of the game. Initiatives like those offered by the NSPCC and  O2 provide parents with the free advice and technical support they need to keep children safe online.

For example, they run workshops with parents across the country, and offer a free dedicated helpline service – 0808 800 5002 – for any internet safety questions (i.e. setting parental controls). Additionally parents can get hands-on free assistance in-store with O2 Gurus. (you can book an appointment here)

With the statistics showing that;

  • Childline has seen a 60% year on year increase in counselling sessions with children left worried after seeing porn online.
  • ·      NSPCC research found that children were as likely to find pornography accidentally, as to deliberately search for it.
  • ·      Web traffic to the NSPCC’s parent advice on protecting young people from the impact of porn has increased by 58% during 2016.

Setting parental controls is something to be taken very seriously.

making sure your kids don't loose their momentum when it comes to their education is easy with these fun homework ideas

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post 

 

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