We now live in a day and age where being connected is a must and that even children as young as 6 months old are online in some way.
From streaming movies or playing with apps and online games, to simply surfing the web searching for things, kids nowadays are more computer savvy than their parents. Back when I was in school we were using a typewriter and there was no Internet. Yes, we did enjoy playing Oregon Trail and other games on the computer, but there were additional purchases that needed to be made, like you find when you download apps today. Just the other day a friend of mine said her son got hold of her tablet and charged over $200 worth of in-app purchases in under an hour. She had no idea he even knew her password, but he was quick to tell her that he watched her so many time buying things and entering her password, that he learned it. So much for a parental lock on her tablet -- and, to think her son is only 8 years old.
Well, things like this are happening more and more, as kids are reaching for tablets, being handed your phone to keep them busy, or even having their own computer or mobile devices to use. With all the violence in schools and news about abductions and attempted kidnappings, more and more parents are opting to buy there children phones to carry with them, so that they can be in contact if something ever bad was to happen. Children as young a grade school are being sent to school with phones -- but, are really responsible at this age. And, are parents sitting down to talk with their children about phone usage, limitations, etc.? Parents are always on the go, that they think that by getting a phone and passing it off to their children, they can breath a little easier. But, this is not the case -- as know you have to worry about your children having to deal with cyberbullying, meeting and chatting with sex offenders or people looking to lure your child someplace, or even just inappropriate Internet searching.
Check out these stats about connected kids living in virtual worlds:
- "By the age of 3-5, more children are able to navigate a smartphone (47%) than tie their shoes (14%) or swim unaided (23%).
- 46% of kids aged 6-9 spend more time chatting, playing and interacting in virtual worlds more than any other online activity.
- 89% of mothers say their child has not been teased online by their peers; however, academic research has indicated that parents often underestimate how often their child is subjected to cyber-bullying and that around 30% of children admitted to being a victim."
Source: AVG Technologies
Prior to writing up this post about child Internet safety, I asked a few of my close friends who have children ranging in ages from 6-17 yrs. if they have talked to their children about Internet safety, cyber-bullying, etc. I was not surprised to hear that most hadn't. One mom said she through the schools have been doing this, so she didn't want to be repetitive. Another mom said she briefly talked about it, but agreed that she could have talked more frequent and in depth with her tweens. The other moms said that they simply monitor their children's Internet usage by checking out history logs. They also have parental locks and set limits on how long their children can use their iPads or phones. They thought that by having all these parental securities in place that everything would be fine -- but, they are wrong.
Now, check out these stats shared by AVG Technologies about what children are actually learning in school about online safety education -- these stats may surprise you and make you think twice about relying on schools and teachers to educate your child about Internet Safety...
"Teachers struggle with expectations for online safety education in school...
- 82% of teachers believe parents rely too much on schools to teach their children about online safety.
- 38% of teachers believe that the parents do not know enough about online safety themselves.
- Although more than nine out of ten (92%) teachers confirmed they use Internet content in class and 69% discuss online safety on an occasional or frequent basis, only one in four have actually had formal training to teach online safety skills.
- 64% of respondents agreed schools should provide better training on using the internet as an educational tool, and 77% stated internet safety should be a dedicated part of the education syllabus."
Source: *Unless otherwise noted, the above findings are based on global surveys conducted by AVG Technologies
It seems like every night that I watch the news a new child has gone missing, and leads point to meeting up with someone they met online, or running away due to bullying either at school or online (cyberbullying). Parents have to remember that the Internet while it is full of valuable information, can also be a dangerous place for children, if they are not being monitored and talked to about the do's and don'ts of the Internet.
But, where do you start and what things should a parent cover when talking to their children about Internet safety and cyberbullying? Thanks to the partnership between AVG Technologies and Childnet International, they have published a wonderful interactive e-book series called "Madga and Mo" to help parents have these much needed conversations about Internet Safety with their children. This e-book series covers topics including cyber-bullying and safe searching and makes
More about Magda and Mo eBooks:
"Magda and Mo are two curious kids who want to play online but need your help to make good choices. Follow their interactive adventures and help them decide during the story if they should do it themselves or ask a grown-up for help?
Magda and Mo have been created by AVG with the help of the international Internet safety charity, Childnet, to help parents and children learn together about how to safely enjoy life online. The characters feature in a series of stories that deal with topics like Internet security and online protection, safe surfing and searching, and how to deal with issues like cyber-bullying and being a good friend online. There are Notes for Grown-ups at the end of the stories that feature good advice for parents about how to talk positively to their children about the Internet. So click a story to get started, learn and have fun!"
I recently sat my girls down at the computer to go through "The Pirate's Donut" e-book, which is a cute click or tell story that talks about safely searching the Internet. The story was easy to follow along and understand and gave great talking points for parents to bring up and continue the conversation with their children after the story was done. I also found a fun iPad Internet security storybook app while checking out the Magda and Mo app found at the AVG Technologies page, called Little Bird's Internet Security Adventure, which I downloaded and shared with my girls.
It was written with preschoolers in mind, as a way for parents to initiate conversations about Internet safety in an age-appropriate manner.
This storybook app from AVG Technologies is also FREE, and worth the download. My girls liked the story, and I found myself talking about Internet Safety topics I had never thought to bring up with them.
In addition to the new e-book series, AVG Technologies has also offers a great product that is a must have for parents of children who are always online called AVG PrivacyFix. This product helps control and lock-in your privacy on your PC, mobile devices and tablet, thus allowing to you to monitor and adjust privacy settings online and prevent third parties from tracking you or your child's activities and locations. And, the best part about AVG PrivacyFix is that it is a FREE download. You have no excuse why you shouldn't be downloading and using this on your computer and mobile devices to help protect your family's privacy. Click here to download this free program now -- http://avgclick.me/prflnkk.
So, why not take time this weekend to sit down with your children and have the talk -- about Internet Safety. If you find yourself struggling for talking points or even where to start, make a point to visit the AVG Technologies. Kids need to be reminded that they can come to you to talk about things they come across along, including inappropriate conversations, cyber-bullying, etc. And, they should also be reminded that the Internet is not used responsibly can be a dangerous play, thus you as the parent need to monitor their usage and put limitations and restrictions where you see fit.
Stay up-to-date on new product offerings, news and more about talking to your children about Internet safety by following AVG Technologies on their social media pages...