At some point, your parents will give you your own device that connects to the internet. They will be excited about the opportunities for your education and independence. However, they will also be worried.

Parents worry about their kids on the internet. That’s not because they don’t understand the internet, it is because they understand people. They know some people are  good and some people bad, and those people are probably on the internet. Their fears are made worse by all stories in the media about bad things that happen on the internet. Your parents don’t want those bad things to happen to you.

Your job is to reassure them that you also know there are dangers and bad people on the internet, and that you have ideas on how to keep safe.

Ten things your parents need to know so they can worry less

  1. You understand that some websites and some people are fake online. That you will be sceptical of what you see and who you communicate with. You would never go and meet a new internet friend in person without discussing it with them.
  2. You won’t be a cyberbully – and you won’t aid cyberbullies. If you know somebody is being bullied, you will support them and let them know what they can do about it. 
  3. You will respect other people’s privacy. That means not posting private stuff about other people, no matter how funny it might be.
  4. You take the necessary steps to protect your posts. That means you’ll take the time to understand and set privacy settings.
  5. You will keep your device secure and undertake good security practices.
  6. You won’t download apps and programmes that you don’t know are safe. You’ll stick to content from the legitimate app stores.
  7. You’ll be sensible about what you post because you know your posts reflect you, and the people around you.
  8. You know things you post online are permanent.
  9. You don’t actually want to be on the internet all the time. You’ll manage your time and stick to agreed limits
  10. Most importantly – You will go to them in if something goes wrong.

As confident as your parents will be once you explain that knowledge, they will want to be reassured on an ongoing basis for a while. You might consider doing the following things to help them out:

  • Allow them to connect with you on social media as long as they promise not to post embarrassing comments to your pages.
  • Install one of those apps that allows them to know where your device is. As well as reassuring your parents, this will be very helpful if you lose your device.

Most of all, talk to your parents about your online life. Don’t be afraid to talk through the little challenges you face along the way. That way, they’re more likely to be ready if you need their help on anything major.

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