Talking about some online issues can be difficult, and some topics can be particularly awkward; for you and your child! We have put together these questions to help you start an initial conversation, so you have a better understanding of what they do online and how you can protect them.
Reassure your child that you are asking these questions because you are looking out for them; you know the internet is a great place and you just want to be assured that they are using it safely.
- What apps/games are you using at the minute?
This will give you a good overview of the types of things they are doing on their devices and what they are interested in. Remember, they might not tell you everything they are using. New apps and games are released regularly, so have this conversation often to keep up to date with your child’s activities.
- What websites do you enjoy?
Similar to the first question, this will help you discover what your child is doing when they are online. Additionally, ask them what they do on these websites.
- How does this game/app work? Can I play?
Show a genuine interest in what they are doing. Whilst you are playing a game or using an app with them, it might highlight something that they don’t necessarily think is a danger to them. If they act like they don’t want to share their activities with you, question why.
- Do you have any online friends?
Children can form positive relationships with people online, but they may not fully understand the difference between a friend and a stranger. You could make the question more specific to your child, for example, “have you met anyone online that they like to play games with?” They may not want to share this information with you, so ensure you teach them about healthy relationships.
- Do you know where to go for help?
You may be their trusted adult, but your child may find it difficult to tell you certain things. Take sexting as an example, if something was to get out of hand, they may feel uncomfortable telling their parent. Sit down with your child and show them some websites where they can go to report incidents and speak to professionals for free about any concerns they may have.
- Do you know what your personal information is?
Your child may already know what their personal information is. But they might not think about how it can be shared. Have a conversation about what personal information is and how this can affect them if it is shared.