Brutus loves going on the internet, he loves watching things on YouTube and now wants to start vlogging, but how do we encourage his love of technology whilst keeping him safe on the internet.
Staying Safe on the Internet
At the moment it is very easy for us to monitor Brutus’ online activities (Furby doesn’t care about phones or tablets she just wants to watch frozen). he is open and talks to us and we are still in a position to take devices away from him if we feel he is doing too much.
Brutus is too young to have accounts on any social media, yet we set him up a YouTube account of his, own, this is because we wanted to turn on safe settings so he couldn’t view inappropriate videos on our accounts. This works well and we are also admins of this account.
The police came round to his school and gave some fab advice about social media, which was a lesson for us as well.
- Always ask permission before going online
- Check with an adult if ayou have to give a website your email address or any personal details like phone number or name
- Never give out your full name
- Never give out the full name of your family or tell anyone the relationship you have to them (for example Brutus will not say my name and will just say I’m a member of his family not his Mum)
- Never give out your address or name of your school
- Don’t talk to people or accept friend requests from people you don’t know
- Don’t post pictures online or videos wearing school uniform that can be identified
We didn’t really think about the relatives, I call my kids Brutus and Furby in my blog, obviously they are not called this in real life but as I post photos of them on here I wanted it to be harder to identify them partly as I don’t want people in the future googling them when they apply for a job and finding potty training pictures however it is for safety and protection as well I even had to amend the preschool posts to remove the preschool name as they could be identified from having been to that small preschool.
Settings on social media such as safe search are good but also privacy settings when uploading pictures on facebook. You can also make sure your child’s full name is never used, Brutus’ gmail and YouTube doesn’t have his full name.
It is important to remember that social media guidelines mean that children under the age of 13, whilst we are being flexible with this rule they are in place based on the content that can be uploaded to these platforms and should be heeded.
We are admins on Brutus’ You Tube account and at his age we can monitor him very closely, many people can have a lot of fun with their kids using apps like SnapChat but this is an activity to be done together.
Cyber bullying is something I am very scared about, social media can be soul destroying at the best of times and for grown ups, but for vulnerable children it feels scary. Cyber bullying is so much harder to tackle than just being hit and the emotional abuse can be long term.
It is important to try to keep up communication with your child, you need to be able to trust them to come to you, and that communication starts well.
We didn’t believe Brutus when he told he was being bullied as we trusted his teachers and keyworkers when they said it wasn’t happening, this has led to trust issues where he now won’t tell us or a teacher if he gets hurt or is upset by another child as he still doesn’t fully believe any one will do anything.
Fortunately his school is amazing and always do something if there is an incident and encourage children to tell them about things. We also encourage Brutus and Furby to tell us these things and can only hope they will continue to as pre teens and teens when they are more vulnerable.
The nature of social media means it follows you into your home, there is no sanctuary away from the abuse therefore this is an area you need to be particularly careful of.