If your children are anything like mine then you will see them breeze past as they drop school bags in the hall en route to their bedrooms where they throw themselves in to a World of social media and gaming stations only venturing out like predators to hunt for food or, occasionally batteries for controllers.
But what do you know about this World they spend so much time in and how safe are they?
Well, some figures that you may wish to consider*:
- 50 % of children have been in trouble at home or school for something they have posted on line.
- 50 % posted their own e-mail address on line.
- 49 % posted something that they have regretted later.
- 45 % of children would not change their online activities if they knew the parents where watching.
- 30 % have posted their own phone number.
- 14 % posted their home address on line.
More concerning is the fad of ‘sexting’. Recently an incident in a local school occurred where a young girl had been persuaded to send a picture of herself to her boyfriend, within a day the image had been spread though the school and beyond before the school was able to put a stop to this.
‘Cyber bullying’ is also an ever growing problem and youngsters and adults are affected alike, however children may find it hard to talk to you, or even hide the fact that this is happening to them.
Some things you can do:
- Ask for the password to their account and enforce this as a condition of use.
- Install security software and keep it up to date.
- Place the computer in a place you can see it, not popular with teens but younger users should be supervised.
- Establish rules so they know what is expectable content and usage.
- Report any bullying to you or teachers, and if you feel it is serious, inform the police it is a crime.
- Learn the Tech…… this one can be fun ! I now BBM, have facebook and know there jargon OMG LOL…….although they still call me ‘old bean’.
There are programs on the market that can be placed on to phones and personal computers as a last resort. But discussing this with your children would probably be the best course of action. If this does fail and you do have concerns then call one of our investigators to see what we could do for you.
*Figures from a leading personal security and identity theft expert.