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Keeping Our Children Safe Online: How Do I Do It?

I'm not claiming to be the world's best Dad. I don't think anyone claims to be. While our little ones are learning their first words or making their first steps, we, deep down, are learning more than them.

Not long after I had my first child, I said to my own Dad, "How did you do it?" 

He laughed, as most in the same position probably do. But I have to say, fatherhood scares me today. Donald Trump is President for God's sake. My child will be hitting late teenage years in the aftermath of that. That's if we've not all been blown up by Kim Jong-un anyway.

My main concern right now however is the internet. My Dad didn't have to worry about me and the internet, all I had for entertainment was a football and repeats of Hey Arnold!, but now it really is a big worry.

I read a stat that one in 12 children have sexted online. I don't even want to think about my daughter being sexually active until she's at least 16, and at that point her partner will get a very stern warning!

It's an incredible stat and does raise a much bigger issue about the internet, and one that all us parents should be thinking about – safeguarding!

Education

And that comes down, first and foremost, to education. I'm sure we've all had to explain why hitting being mean to someone in the playground is wrong. Same rules apply online.

Yet, it seems that isn't the case. Statistics show that around 54% of teenagers on Facebook have been on the end of bullying in some way or another, while an estimated 15,000 bullying Tweets are sent daily.

Ultimately, we're responsible for our children's actions and should be influential in ensuring they treat people with respect, and also speak out if they're on the receiving end of bullying.

In today's society, when we regularly hear horror stories regarding children and the internet, it's more important than ever to set clear boundaries. Tell them what is and isn't acceptable so they know when to speak to someone if there are problems. 

It's understanding too. Naturally, my daughter wouldn't want the whole world reading her diary, so why on earth would she want strangers from across the world reading her posts? Making sure they have their profiles set to private is something you should be insistent on. They'll thank us in the long run when they're applying for jobs too! 

So What Else Can We Do? 

Let's face it, we've all enjoyed a Facebook stalk every now and again, and keeping an eye on my child's social media is something I do regularly. I read an article with all the top tips for keeping children safe online, and being visible on your child's social media seemed to make the most sense. 

By being engaging with your child online, it shows to the world there is someone looking out for them and you are reading and watching what your child is doing. I've taken on this method, and apart from a little embarrassed from time to time, my daughter has had no issues with me commenting or liking her posts.

The internet does worry me, after all, we can only look after our own children. But if we all do that, we can sleep a little safer at night knowing they aren't being manipulated or suffering from any abuse. It's important guys!