Cyber Safety Advice for Parents Blog

A Kerry National School has banned 6th class students access to digital devices. All parents should now follow their lead.

 

Blennerville National School

 

This week, it was revealed that Blennerville National School, near Tralee in Co Kerry, agreed with parents in the school, that it was time to put a ban on digital device access for students. There had been a number of incidents revolving around the access and sharing of inappropriate content and bullying. The ban on devices at home, is an 11-week pilot programme. What we would describe as a Digital Detox, only for the children in sixth class. This decision is similar to one we have been promoting in National Schools for some time now that children should never be given a ‘Smartphone’. We had been anxiously waiting to see a community who would come together and formulate a plan such as this in Ireland. A first step on this path has been publicly taken by a school and parents. We would hope that all parents would look with great interest upon it, and follow-up and try this themselves.

Continue reading “A Kerry National School has banned 6th class students access to digital devices. All parents should now follow their lead.”

Online Radicalisation

 

Online Radicalisation

 

There is some really harmful and very negative disturbing and upsetting content on the internet. It is a reality that due to the open nature of the internet it does give free access to anyone who wishes to post whatever content that they like online. One are of this that is causing a lot of genuine fear among the parents that we encounter is that of the possibility of their children being exposed to Radicalization material.

This content can be horrific and severely damaging to a child if they are exposed to it. A child’s natural curiosity may lead them to searching for this content. Google has reported a huge increase in the number of searches performed by the search engines for this type of content. Children may be exposed to individuals who seek to impart their beliefs and views or perhaps even attempt to convince the child to convert or join them.

By it’s very nature the internet is a 24 hour 7 days a week opportunity to radical individuals to seek to engage with teenagers who are attempting to find their own place in the world. Social media affords the opportunity for extremists to publicise their beliefs and opinions while seeking out other like-minded individuals and those who may be susceptible to their propaganda.

Online privacy

Some Advice for Parents

  • This is a new danger that previously did not exist to the extent that it currently does online. Parents need to be aware of it and what to look out for
  • You may notice a change in your child’s behaviour or interests
  • They may now display interests in areas that they did not have before
  • They may begin to distrust what they see or read and challenge it
  • They may become very secretive about who they are engaging with online
  • They may switch to a different screen when you enter the room
  • Parents need to monitor the child’s online activity
  • Always treat the child with respect and understanding
  • A child may not engage again with honesty if a parent’s first response is to argue or attack the child
  • Parents should go through the Friend and Followers see who is in contact with the child, remind the child if they do have Friends that they have only met online then they should never meet that individual in person
  • Discuss with the child what they are being exposed too Online

Sexting

 

Sexting

 

‘Sexting’, described as the sending of sexually explicit messages, through digital devices, primarily the mobile phone. A relatively new phenomenon, with the saturation of digital devices over the last few years there has been a marked increase in those who will openly admit sending in explicit or inappropriate image to another’s digital device of themselves. The concept can sometimes be difficult for adults to grasp that children might engage in this type of behaviour. However, a study released in 2016 showed that Irish teens were the fourth most prolific senders and receivers of ‘Sexts’ in Europe. Many young people see it as a normal behaviour as everyone is doing it.

By their very nature children will experiment, show me yours and I’ll show you mine, combine this with a latest trend of selfies, on top of the current negative celebrity role models who frequently post near and sometimes completely naked images of themselves, then you’re bound to have children who will not see the harm in Sexting. Children have been found to have sent ‘Sexts’ to people they only met online, they are Sexting boyfriends or girlfriends or potential companions. Some of the teenagers are sexting out of peer pressure. Many just do it for fun.

A number of Apps have also really contributed to the escalation in this type of behaviour among children and teens. Snapchat, which was openly referred to as a Sexting App has become incredibly popular with young users, despite the 13-year-old restriction. This App encourages the taking of Selfies and sharing of the images. What the App also leads the users to believe is that the image is deleted after a set time period. With this knowledge in mind children who are natural risk takers will undoubtedly engage in a behaviour if there is little or no chance that they will get caught.

What may seem as a bit of fun, taking a picture of their bum can quickly escalate and get out of hand. As there are Free Apps that can save an image to a device without the sender’s knowledge the receive may retain or worst case scenario forward the image to others. This can have a disastrous impact on the sender. Users fail to realise the gamble they take once they send an explicit, or inappropriate image.

There have also been instances where young children getting changed after a match taken and the image forwarded, can you imagine the impact that would have. Any image forwarded by can have a terribly negative effect on a person’s self-esteem, their reputation and may have deep psychological consequences for the victim.

Sexting has also given rise to Revenge Porn, this occurs when a consenting couple who have exchanged images while involved in a relationship break up and one of them decided to release the images to get back at the other. Again this can have an incredible negative impact on the victim.

Teens and young children who take, share or even have these types of images get a serious shock when they discover that the images are in fact illegal. The production, possession or distribution of images of a sexual nature of a child are considered Child Pornography in Ireland.

 

Online privacy

 

Some Advice for Parents

  • The number one priority here is communication with your child. They have to feel confident enough to be able to have an open conversation with you without a fear of reprisal

 

  • As a parent when you decide to provide a device to a child you need to set down ground rules and understand what type of behaviours are acceptable and what is not acceptable when using the device

 

  • Discover does your child understand what Sexting is, have they heard of it happening in their school. Even at Primary level we are seeing children telling us they are aware of this happening

 

  • Remind them that once an image is send it is there FOREVER

 

  • Help them understand that they should never send an image that they might not want their Grand Parents to see

 

  • If they ever receive an unsolicited image make sure they understand that it is ok to tell a trusted adult

 

  • Have they ever received a Sext, for younger children an inappropriate image

 

  • Have they ever sent a Sext, for younger children an inappropriate image

 

  • Do they understand the permanence of an image and that there is NO CONTROL over where the image may end up

 

 

  • Help them understand that they may end up bullied and bullied

 

  • Help them understand that may leave themselves open to be blackmailed or Sextorted as a result of sharing one image

 

  • They may be prosecuted for the production possession or distribution of the image, and always remember that a deleted image on a device can always be forensically recovered in the case of an investigation

Digital Footprint

Digital Footprint

 

Often referred to as your , your Digital Footprint represents your interaction with technology. Every time that an image or video is posted, or perhaps a comment is made, it effects your . This is a how a person can be perceived in real life, by people viewing the lives that they are living online. Presently children are posting images and information about themselves at a younger and younger age. By the time a child is a teenager, many of the posts that they put up they will have well forgotten about. Ask yourselves, did you have a Myspace or Bebo account, can you remember the posts that you as parents posted on those sites. In reality it is very difficult to remember every interaction or comment that you made while online.

The problem today is that a can have disastrous implications for a young person starting out in life. While they live a lot of their lives online they sometimes act in ways that they never would in the real world. The post inappropriate images of themselves and others. They may bully others. They may declare an interest in crime or drugs, often without realising the real world implications for their actions. Both adults and children have fallen victim to being reckless online. Adults have lost jobs, children suspended or expelled from schools or colleges.

It is a fact that many third level institutions and employers have their own Social Media policy. When people apply for colleges or employment many background check the Online lives of applicants. This obviously will give a far better indication of the character of an individual than a traditional C.V. Both parents and children need to understand the importance of their own , it’s permanence online and more importantly the ramifications for having a Negative one as once the information is put up it can be extremely difficult to remove and have seriously long lasting ramifications.

Online privacy

Some Advice for Parents

  • Parents need to be good role models for their children. They should not see parents posting their own every move online.
  • Parents need to teach the importance of Personal Information and Privacy to their children
  • Patents need to have a conversation about what is online. They need to sit down and do a search for the child to see what information is returned. If it is negative then they should, where possible take it down or delete it
  • Parents and Children need to understand the concept of Think before you Share. Understand the implications and far reaching effects of something before it is posted
  • At the end of the day even with the most secure of privacy settings nothing is private on the internet if one single individual can access it. The terms and conditions which everyone generally just click “ACCEPT” on can mean that anything posted may be shared even without the account holders notice. If you post it you give away all control of it.
  • Parents should also teach children that the comments of other users can also negatively impact on them as easily as comments that they themselves post about people

 

Useful Links

 

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Here is a list of some of the best sites we have encountered which promote for Parents and Children

 

WEBWISE                         www.webwise.ie

INTERNET MATTERS      www.internetmatters.org

BARNADOS                       https://www.barnardos.ie/

CHILDLINE                       https://www.childline.ie/

ISPCC                                  https://www.ispcc.ie/

TeenLine                           http://www.teenline.ie/

 

 

CONTENT FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN AGED 5 -7

Think You Know              www.thinkuknow.co.uk/5_7/

 

 

CONTENT FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN AGED 8 – 10

Think You Know              https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/8_10/

 

 

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