Keeping our kids safe in the digital realms has never been more important than it is right now. How do we go about creating a safer space for our children?
Not all of us grew up speaking in computer terms. Some of us missed the PC boat entirely, having graduated high school before their teaching was ever fully integrated. Nowadays, it is our children that are experiencing the digital world in a way that we never had a chance to… but that isn’t always a good thing.
The online world is an easy way for a predator to worm their way into your child’s life. When they are in the digital space, your kids are exposed to all manner of manipulators, groomers, and people who would exploit their youth and naivety.
As parents and educators, we need to step up to this new threat and protect them from it, just as we might protect them from a real-life predator. Online learning is only going to be the future of education if we can work out how to ensure child safety.
The Essential Nature of Safeguarding
Safeguarding is an umbrella term that we use to encompass all the actions we take to ensure our children stay safe in the digital space. Regardless of which platform they are using and on which device, safeguarding is essential so that we are always making the right moves to keep them safe.
Some of the right moves work as a deterrent. For example, if you engage parental controls to block unapproved messages being sent through Xbox Live, then you are deterring this method of online communication. This effectively stops your child from being contacted by pedophiles, but also blocks messages sent by their friends.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence cites six key principles of safeguarding. These are outlined as the following:
Empowering young people by teaching them about informed consent.
Preventing them from harm where possible.
Consider proportionality; always take the path of least harm when handling situations.
Protect by providing support where needed.
Work in partnership with your child’s school or facility, internet, and game providers.
Be accountable. The buck for your child’s online safety stops with you.
There are other ways to safeguard your child which may or may not be more effective to you. Let’s look at these in greater detail to examine some methods by which we might keep our children safe from online predators – particularly in a world where online studying is the new normal.
How to Safeguard your Children Online
When your child is in the digital workplace, engaged in E-learning, or is just playing a video game, you ought to be pro-active in your protection approach. To do this:
Keep all devices in communal areas where you can monitor interactions.
Get to know their online and offline friends.
Engage parental controls wherever possible in order to minimize harm.
Talk to your child about the online world and encourage that communication.
Educate them never to give out their contact information or social media accounts to someone they do not know in person.
Make sure your child is aware of potential threats and people acting suspiciously.
However, while we can educate our children and take all reasonable measures to succeed, predators can still find a way in. For an educator, this means performing a risk assessment on each online platform you use with your classes. Follow school policy carefully to ensure the children are never exposed to unnecessary risk.
For a parent, consistent monitoring and enforcement of the rules is all you can do to keep them safe online. Work with those educators using online platforms to teach, to see if there are ways you can make it even safer.
Both parents and educators can benefit from an educational viewpoint of their own. Not all of us are technically minded, so a short course on online safeguarding for your children can help to grant you peace of mind.
As we progress into the digital era, we are finding newer, better, safer ways to protect ourselves and our children, with every new software system developed. Overall, our children’s teachers are working hard to ensure that the processes used to teach are as iron-clad as possible. The problem will ease as time passes, but only if we stay vigilant. Children’s online safety starts at home. Teach them well and they’ll be safe as houses.