If your kids' Christmas presents this year include a digital device, such as a tablet or smartphone, you might be asking yourself some of these questions:
What apps are ok for my child to use?
What content do I want my child to be able to access online?
How will I help my child keeping their social media profiles private?
How can I manage how much time my child spends on the device?
Most importantly - DO NOT PANIC - I know, some people will have you believe you are selling their souls to the devil...I like to think that your child is taking his or her first steps into a digital world full of opportunities where the benefits outweigh the risks. Whilst I believe there is no need for fear, I certainly encourage you to spend some time thinking about the above questions, and then, most importantly - take specific actions to address them - appropriate for your child's age.
You can find easy to follow step by step video tutorials showing you how to improve your child's online safety on our website - www.immunizeNet.com
But my view on kid’s online safety was not always as balanced and measured:
Just over a year ago, I was able to intercept unsuitable content sent to our teenage daughter’s iPhone. It was very unsettling as a parent to be confronted by this and my instinctive reaction was to throw her phone out the window - but this was clearly not a rational solution. Besides, my daughter would never have forgiven me…
Instead, I set out to find out what practical and measured actions I could take to ensure her safety and at the same time giving her the benefits technology can offer, whilst hoping that through continued and open dialogue she would be more likely to tell us if something bothered her.
Whilst sensationalist headline news about the latest digital threats to our children might draw parents attention to a particular issue, it does very little to overcome their concerns. Most of the time it’s not that social media networks or apps are dangerous, but that its use needs to be adapted to the age and general behaviour of the child accessing it.
Too much fear mongering is neither productive nor helpful for parents and children to develop a healthy relationship with technology.
This is why, over the past 12 months, I have developed immunizeNet: To offer simple and free instructions of practical steps you can take to ensure your children can enjoy technology in the safest way possible.
immunizeNet is easy to navigate and its layout has been especially designed to cater for any level of user experience....in a language and easy to follow 'step by step' format that doesn't take forever to understand or implement.
Crucially, with the immunizeNet site, you don't have to commit to lengthy workshops or screen time but you can dip in and out of learning at your convenience. The free tutorials (mostly 2-5 minutes videos) and 'how to' guides can be viewed whenever it suits you, wherever you happen to be and from whatever device you are using. You can pause them, rewind or replay them - even share with others.
The benefits of today’s technology, the internet and smart mobile devices far outweigh the risks of using them. And with safety measures being accessible in a convenient, easy to follow way, there is no reason for knee-jerk reactions – like the one I nearly had.
But news like those of the 200’000 worldwide Snapchat images hacked and released last month, including a large cache of nude child images, makes it sometimes difficult as a parent to stay true to my “no-drama” ethos and balanced approach…but I remind myself that I need to stay focused on providing ever more and improved ways for parents to enable their children to embrace technology – safely.
Watch our demo video below...