Teaching my kids to cross the road safely has taken many years. And to be honest, I am not completely convinced they all have it down pat just yet! I don’t know how many times I have said: ‘Look right, look left and then right again’ or ‘Don’t cross until you see the green man (on the traffic light)’. It definitely requires loads of patience!
And teaching your kids about online safety is absolutely the same. It takes time, vigilance and know-how to be able to educate your kids on how to safely navigate our digital world. It is so much more than a quick afternoon’s chat.
I believe that we as parents are responsible for our children’s safety in both the online and offline world. We would never let our children cross busy roads or highways and just assume they automatically knew how to navigate the risks and dangers. Online safety should be no different. Educating our kids about cyber safety should be a top priority for parents.
The recent launch of bCyberwise, a cyber safety learning module developed by Life Education and McAfee, will support Aussie parents in educating their kids about cyber safety. Kicking off in early February 2013, bCyberwise will be offered by the popular Healthy Harold and the Life Education team to year 3 and 4 students and will provide them with core life skills in cyber safety, cyber security and online behaviour.
Cyber education programs such as bCyberwise are fantastic and will give our Primary School students the tools to manage some of the ‘trickier’ situations they may encounter online as teens. But they must be seen as a support not a substitute for active parental cyber education.
And in order to be an active cyber educator, you need to be able to ‘talk the talk and walk the walk’. So, get involved in your child’s online world. Join the social media sites or games your child has signed up for. Spend some time understanding how each social media site works: how do you set up the privacy settings? How can you block people?
Not only will this experience help you better understand your child but you will be able to guide them in making their online experiences safer and more enjoyable – the perfect start to being a cyber educator! And I have no doubt you will also get a bit of ‘tech cred’ which can be very handy when you are having tricky conversations, particularly with your teens!
Until next time,