Social Media, Technology and our Children

After completing a survey by My Voucher Codes about Social Media, Technology and the impact it has on our children, it has got me thinking about the dangers that there are online.  As my children are seven and three years old, I am able to monitor what they are doing on their tablets and on the computer.

Steps I take to make sure the children are safe online

  1. The computer is in the living room so that the screen faces the whole room.  It is quite a big screen so I can see what they are looking at in a glance.
  2. I have the parental controls set on H’s Hudl.  I really like these as I feel in control of what she has access to.
  3. S’s tablet is linked to his Dad’s email account so that if he tries to purchase any content that is not suitable, even if it a free game, his Dad knows immediately.  This has happened once before, when S first got his device.  His Dad messaged me at 11pm to say that S had downloaded a game unsuitable for him so I went straight to S (actually before he had had time to play on it) and discovered that he’d sneaked his tablet to play on in bed.  Cheeky monkey!  We had a long discussion on this and nothing like that has happened since.
  4. S has some regular, fantastic talks at his school about e-safety.  I am informed of when these are so we discuss them further when he comes home.  He also watches Newsround at school, which has some great advice.
  5. Any YouTube videos they want to watch, I view them first to ensure they are suitable.  I still haven’t figured out the parental controls on here so I was pleased to hear that YouTube for Children has been set up recently.
Technology is fascinating
Technology is fascinating

What parents are most concerned about

The results of the survey concluded that parents are most worried about online bullying (58% were extremely worried), accessing adult content (49% were extremely worried) and sharing inappropriate images (49% were extremely worried).  Other concerns included grooming, access to extremism, addiction to social media, effects on education, privacy and the effect on long term health.

I must say that I am quite worried about my children accessing adult content, as it is so easy to stumble across such material when you are looking on search engines or on YouTube, for example.  For now, I am not concerned about online bullying as my children do not connect with others on social media due to them being so young.  It is a worry I have for the future though, when they do start having social media accounts.  But then again, bullying in general, online and in the offline world, is a concern I think that most parents have.

How to combat these worries about technology

The survey found that parents were active in trying to protect their children on these new, evolving online threats.  Some parents use their routers to block access to inappropriate adult content.  Others felt able to trust their children to report any instances of online bullying or grooming with them.

I think that the most important thing to do is to talk to children about the dangers they could face online and how to deal with them if something does happen.  Like with anything, I think openness and transparency, even on tricky issues, is the way forward.  We are here to teach our children how to deal with problems when they arise and how to keep themselves safe in a world full of all sorts of dangers.

I am glad that I took part in this survey.  It has brought the issues about technology, social media and how our children could be affected by online threats, into the spotlight.  I think that all parents need to be aware of the aspects of e-safety and actively keep an open dialogue with their children.

Do you worry about the dangers of technology and social media, in relation to your children?  What do you do to keep your children safe online?

  • Erica Price

    Some good tips there – I think I need to investigate YouTube for Children.

  • I didn’t know youtube for kids existed! Will be looking into that one mine are a little older!

  • angela

    I never knew about youtube for kids I will be looking into that for my son. thank you for making us aware

  • I don’t let my daughter go on YouTube as there is too many things on there that I’d prefer she didn’t see, it will interesting to see what YouTube for Kids will be like

  • Carly

    Great tips, my boys regularly watch YouTube videos, but I know the channels they always watch and they are child friendly, if they do stumble upon anything that’s rude or inappropriate they tell me and we switch back to the ones that are appropriate. I hadn’t realised about YouTube for kids either so will take a look at that. #SoFoLo

  • Really good tips for internet safety, my oldest loves you tube and I am always checking what she is watching 🙂

  • This is a great article, we should all be aware of dangers for kids on the net.

  • Mary Louise

    My Daughter is still too young for social media but to be honest i am dreading the day she becomes aware of it. Thanks for all the info and i think it is so important to make parents aware.

  • Gretta Schifano

    I think the most important thing is to keep talking to them about this as they grow because it’s easy for them to forget about online safety.

  • YouTube is definitely the biggest issue in our house as both girls are big fans, and there’s just so much out there…. scary x

  • Jen Walshaw

    For me it is about keeping on top of it myself. I try and ensure that we have open lines of communication too

  • Some very good tips in this post many thanks for sharing.

  • i often worry about this, but so far we have kept my teen from FB and twitter and the like but are monitoring her activity on a select few sites and the only access she gets is while in the living room!

  • I do worry about it, it changes so quickly and they have such easy access nowadays. Need to check out You Tube for children, I wasn’t aware of that so thanks for the information.

  • Kara

    Off to check out youtube for children!

  • I was happy to hear about you tube for children because it’s one of their favourite sites and I do worry they’ll find unsuitable content without me knowing.

  • Nell@PigeonPairandMe

    Some really useful tips here – thank you. I love the fact that you rumbled your son via his Dad’s email account!

  • Beautyqueenuk

    Some really good tips here, I don’t have kids but the thought of my nephew being online worries me , though I am sure my sister has it covered x

  • Emma

    some great tips, I think it gets harder as they get older. Its a cross between giving them guidelines and trusting them.

  • Blue Bear Wood

    Some great tips. We haven’t used any parental controls but monitor where the girls have been and looked and always talk about anything we think is bad although to be fair so far they haven’t done anything iffy

  • We talk, talk and then talk some more. Kids have to understand why they can’t so certain things and sometimes this convincing doesn’t come easiely.

  • Globalmouse

    I really worry about online safety. We make sure that any online use is limited and I think keeping your computer with the screen turned into the room is a great tip.

  • Rachel @ Parenthood Highs and

    It is quite worrying. My two are only 3 and 2 so still have a while before they get too involved online, but they love YouTube. I love the fact there is a kids youtube – I’ll have to download that. I’ll feel much happier knowing that they can’t accidently come across anything unsuitable.

  • Rachel @ Parenthood Highs and

    It is quite worrying. My two are only 3 and 2 so still have a while before they get too involved online, but they love YouTube. I love the fact there is a kids youtube – I’ll have to download that. I’ll feel much happier knowing that they can’t accidently come across anything unsuitable.