My eldest started secondary school in September and with this rite of passage also came the obligatory mobile phone. I had been dreading the moment but actually, 6 months in, it hasn’t proved to be the nightmare that I thought it would be, in fact sometimes it has been quite the opposite.
It has been a great way for her to keep in contact with friends – both her new secondary school ones, particularly as we live in a small village some distance away, and her old primary school ones that she now doesn’t see as often.
But I am not naïve and I am fully aware of the looming issues and pressures that will eventually come with having social media and the internet literally at her fingertips. Not to mention the fact that for her, YouTube seems to be more interesting than picking up a book right now.
But how much is too much ‘phone time’? And what can I do to help when the problems start to arrive? I have no idea but I have done bit of research and thought I would list all the useful pieces of advice and places I found where us parents can go to for help.
Many mobile internet service providers have parental controls as part of what they offer. Vodafone have gone a step further and produced a Digital Parenting magazine, which is full of useful advice.
Government sponsored advice and reporting sites
Child Safety Online – a practical guide for parents.
CEOP – Child Exploitation and Online Protection, part of the National Crime Agency.
Virtual Global Taskforce – a partnership of international law enforcement agencies
Netmums – advice for parents by parents.
Media smart, a media literacy advice site for 7-16 year olds.
Finally, a great acronym I found on a US based website…
(P) Remember that everything you put online has the potential to be seen by anybody and everybody and that it can be PERMANENT.
(A) Before posting, tweeting, sharing, texting or uploading think about your AUDIENCE and how it could affect them and/or their opinion of you and others, now and later on.
(U) If you are still UNSURE ask for a second opinion from somebody you trust. Equally, if you receive a text, tweet, message or picture that you are UNSURE about tell somebody you trust.
(S) STOP AND THINK what impact your online activity may have on your privacy or reputation, or the privacy or reputation of others.
(E) If you are uncomfortable with anything that’s been tweeted, posted, shared or uploaded END your involvement immediately and tell somebody you trust.