Google+ Authentic Parenting: Understanding your child’s online life

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Understanding your child’s online life

Content provided by Janice

To a parent, the online life of their children can seem impossible to fathom, a world of emoticons, indecipherable acronyms and hours and hours of cat videos. However, the internet can also pose dangers to your child, from cyber-bullying to online grooming. Getting involved in your child’s online life can not only help you understand them a little more, but it can also ensure that they don’t fall prey to certain dangers.

It can be tempting to keep an eye on your child’s activities by way of some sneaky spyware in the form of parental controls and monitoring applications. Although such software can be invaluable when it comes to protecting your child, actually sitting down with them and having a conversation about the dangers of the internet can remove the need for such measures in the first place.

Familiarise yourself and your child with the multitude of child focused domains available, check out’s child safe website list here - this parenting blog has resident experts that share their opinions and recommendations for parents. From safe browsers to fun games and resources, your child can learn how to use the internet in a safe and controlled environment. This also ensures that you are involved in your child’s online life from the very beginning, preventing it from becoming something secretive or even dangerous.

Already online

If you are the parent of older children or teenagers, then the likelihood is that their online lives are already well established. However, you can still involve yourself in their online lives by taking the time to have a discussion about the dangers of the internet and finding out if your children understand what these are.

Children need guidance and parental input to steer them in the right direction online, and away from harmful and illegal content. Without knowing the dangers, it can be all too easy for a child to be fooled by a predator online pretending to be their friend, or they can become engaged in emotionally damaging cyber-bullying without knowing how to extract themselves from the situation. Having open and honest conversations about their online activity can help to minimise this.

Encourage open internet use in family spaces rather than secretive internet activity. Monitor your child’s time online so it does not become excessive, and talk to them so they are aware that not everyone may be who they claim to be online. Ensure your children know that they must keep sensitive and personal information about themselves private, and teach them how to become a critical user of the internet, helping them to use their skills of deduction without scaring them.

With regular and unobtrusive chats about your child’s online life, such discussions can become commonplace, allowing your child to have an exciting and enriching online experience without you needing to worry.

photo credit: Kaptain Kobold via photopin cc



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