As 21st Century learners, it is important that our students learn to use a range of technologies ethically and appropriately. Below are links to policies and other information that parents may find useful in discussing ICT issues and behaviours with their child.
As parents we need to maintain a dialogue with our children about the online world.
Take a look back
Talk with your child about what they experienced online or via mobile phone in the past. Were there any positive experiences? Where and how did these positive experiences occur? Were there any negative experiences? What happened and how could it have been prevented? Looking back on past events will allow you and your child to determine which activities provide the most benefits and which activities were accompanied by risk.
Take a look around
Make a list of all the electronic devices and online accounts your child operates or has access to.
This list should include computers or gaming devices they play at friends’ or relatives’ houses. The first item to address is: are these websites, applications and games age appropriate? The minimum age to hold an account with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and YouTube is 13 years old. If your child does not meet this age requirement but is operating an account on one of these sites, it is important to discuss with them why these sites have an age restriction, why the child wants to operate an account on these sites and if there is a safer alternative for them to use.
Have a look at the games which your child plays on their gaming console or device and check the classification.
Don’t be misled into thinking that games classification are not as relevant as film classifications. Both use the same guidelines and film content which is restricted to those aged 15 years and above is the same as video game content restricted to those aged 15 years and above. Discuss with your child why it’s important to follow these classifications and what they should do if someone wants to play a game which is not age-appropriate.
Consider how much time your child spends in front of a screen, be it TV or the computer.
Many organisations suggest that children should spend no more 2 hours per day in front of a screen for recreation (not including using the computer for homework). If your child is spending much more than two hours in front of a screen, you may wish to sit down with them and discuss appropriate time limits for using the computer, gaming devices and watching TV. Develop some recreational activities which don’t involve a screen and encourage the whole family to participate.
Take a look ahead
Be a positive role model: young people are exposed to many influences but their parents, friends and families can have the most profound impacts. Help your child safely and responsibly navigate the digital landscape by showing them how it can be done.
Mobilise bystanders: help your child develop a strategy of what they can say or do and who they can talk to if they see another child being bullied.
Define an online friend: young people can be caught up in a popularity contest around how many online contacts or friends they have. Encourage your child to only accept friend requests from people they know and trust.
Review computer protection: Make sure your operating system, anti-virus and anti-spyware software are up to date. It may also be a good time to change your passwords, making sure that they are strong.