But after being asked to review a new book on internet safety, I felt compelled to write this.
It’s so easy for parents to think…
“That’s OK, I don’t need to worry about what my kids are up to online. They know right from wrong; I don’t need to look over their shoulder.”
If you really think that, take a look at a few of these statistics:
- About a quarter of the 1000 reports per month received by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) relate to online grooming
- In a CEOP survey (2011), one third of children said they have received unwanted sexual comments online or by text message
- In May 2011 the FBI issued a statement warning parents that there’s an estimated 500,000 paedophiles online at any one time
- 1 in 3 11-16 year olds have experienced some level of cyberbullying (BeatBullying report 2011)
That’s pretty scary stuff, and when you consider 61% of parents know less about the internet than their children do, it’s time to stop burying your head in the sand.
Make sure you keep up and stay informed
These statistics are just a few that are mentioned in “I Can’t Keep Up!” – A ‘Clear as Crystal’ guide to keeping your family safe online by Charles Conway, an internet safety consultant with Clear as Crystal Training based in Wrexham, and an associate member of the UK Council of Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).
As a mother of two teenagers (and prolific user of all things tech), I like to think I’m fairly switched on when it comes to the internet and potential dangers. But, I have to say, that Charles’ book certainly taught me a few things I wasn’t aware of.
Most parents think they have a firm handle on their children’s internet. But have you thought about what goes on when they are away from home? I can’t keep up runs through all the dangers of the internet and the variety of ways your children can be exposed to it, whether that’s through e-readers, games consoles, free wi-fi zones, mobile phones etc. – oh yes, I bet you hadn’t considered half of those before, had you?
It’s not until someone spells the potential out to you that you really begin to understand the dangers.
But this isn’t a guide designed to frighten the living daylights out of you. It’s an education into what can happen; an explanation of cyberbullying; information about social networking, parental controls, internet predators and how children can be lured to inappropriate content on the web. It takes you through each element and explains what it is.
It tells you, in simple terms, what can happen (with some examples that really make you stop and think) and what to look out for if you think your child is a victim of cyberbullying and what you can do to prevent it. Plus, there’s a very useful list of recommended websites where your children can learn about how to stay safe online.
If you have children, work with children or care for children, I Can’t Keep Up! Is an essential guide that you must read. The only way we can keep our children safe online is by being educated ourselves.
Remember, the internet is not regulated, there is no one patrolling its cyber alleyways to make sure no harm comes to your child. If you want to your child to enjoy the internet and all the good it can bring, get smart and get educated, and get yourself a copy of I Can’t Keep Up!