We know that regular conversations at home help to minimise the harm if things go wrong online. Research shows that parents are critical to the success of tamariki becoming safe, confident and capable in their use of use digital technology. So we’ve put together some ideas to help start a korero about online safety with kids under 10.

HOW TO START TALKING TO UNDER 10S ABOUT ONLINE SAFETY

It’s never too early to start talking to your child about safe behaviours whether offline or online. They are probably watching you interact online or their siblings, so start talking about the safety tips you use when online. When you are about to post a photo, ask them where they think it will go and who will be able to see it.

Tamariki talk to people they trust and who understand them – for under 10s this is most likely parents, families and whanau.  Knowing what to ask, when to ask or how to ask can be tricky, so we have a few suggestions. When looking to have a chat with your child consider:

  • Where you are: Look for a time when your child isn’t going to be distracted by things happening around them
  • Keeping it natural: In the car on the way home from school or informally is likely to work better
  • Asking open-ended questions: Use questions which invite conversation rather than ones which ask for yes or no answers
  • Leading with a request for help: Starting the conversation with a request for help about a platform or app can show your child that you recognise their knowledge which could lead to great engagement in further conversation
  • Reserving judgement: Listen and focus on what your child is saying, no matter how hard this might be. Showing an interest in what they are doing makes it easier to have more difficult conversations if a challenge arises.

The approach you take will be different depending on the age and stage of your child – and what you feel comfortable discussing.

ONLINE SAFETY CONVERSATION STARTERS FOR UNDER 10S

Use your judgement to choose the topics that are most relevant to your child.

Internet Basics

  • What do you think the internet is? How long do you think it’s been around for?
  • What do you like doing when you are on the internet?  Who do you do those things with?
  • How do you think you can stay safe? What are some of the things you don’t like about being online?
  • What makes an online friend different to an offline friend?

Managing Time Online

  • What do you like doing on the laptop/phone/tablet?
  • How could you tell if you were spending too much time online? If you wanted to spend less time on devices, how would you do it?
  • What are some of the things you could do instead?
  • How do you feel when you have to turn off your game or activity online?

Read more on our website.

Online Bullying

  • Have you ever felt sad or unhappy online? What did you do?
  • Have you seen other people doing things online that you didn’t like? What did you do?
  • What does bullying mean?
  • How is bullying different to a joke? If your friend was being bullied online, what would you do?

Read more about online bullying and banter vs bullying.

 Privacy & Personal Information

  • What are some things you shouldn’t share online?
  • What is the difference between ‘public’ and ‘private’ posts or groups?
  • What do you know about privacy settings? Why do you think they are important?
  • What would you do if you were asked for information that you didn’t think was safe to share?

Read more at online privacy and digital footprints.

Truth & Tricksters

  • How do you know what’s real and made up online?  What do real things look like?  Can you show me something online that is real?  What do made up things look like?  Can you show me something online that is made up or not real?
  • If we weren’t sure if something was real or not, what would you do?
  • Do you think it’s easy to pretend to be someone else online? How would you be able to tell if someone really is who they say they are?
  • What apps/ games/ platforms do you like to use?  Why?

Read more about catfishing and misinformation for more detail.

Upsetting Content

  • Do you think that everything on the internet is okay for kids to see, or is some of it only meant for adults?
  • Have you seen anything online that made you feel uncomfortable? What did you do?
  • How do you know that what you are watching or playing is good for children to watch?

Read more about upsetting content, pornography.

FAQS

What happens if my child asks me a question I can’t answer? You don’t have to have the answer. Saying “Where do you think we could find out the answer?” is a great way to explore together.

How do I know if a website, platform or game is safe for my child to use? Most social media platforms have a minimum age limit of 13+ so check terms and conditions carefully before letting your tamariki use something.  Talk to other parents and lean on their experience and knowledge, search netsafe.org.nz or have a look yourself.  Download the app and use it – you will work out very quickly if you want your child engaging with.

ONLINE SAFETY PARENT TOOLKIT

You’re currently within the ‘Learn’ section of our Online Safety Parent Toolkit where we encourage you to find out what your child’s virtual world looks like.

This is the second step in our seven step framework designed to help parents and whānau with digital parenting in a rapidly changing world.  We recommend reading through each step of the Toolkit as this will guide you on how to support your child to confidently access digital opportunities and reduce online harm.

CONTACT NETSAFE

If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. If you want help or expert incident advice, you can contact us. Our service is free, non-judgemental and available seven days a week.

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