How can you ensure your child stays safe online?
During this period of virtual learning, Amity International School Amsterdam, in collaboration with parents, has been offering a wide range of learning experiences to promote the wellbeing of their students and maintain a social connection, while ensuring online safety. Here are the school's 8 tips on how your child can stay safe online!
The recent school closures and strict governmental measures have resulted in families relying on technology and digital solutions to keep children learning, entertained and connected to the outside world.
Due to lack of life experience and emotional resilience children can be unaware of the risks, lacking the knowledge to keep themselves safe online. However, there are also things you can do yourself to keep your child safe online while they are not physically in school.
1. Discuss online safety
Whilst the internet has entertaining, engaging and educational content, it also contains illegal and inappropriate content not suitable for children. During their online endeavours, they might encounter people with bad intentions.
It is important for children to use their critical thinking skills and seek help if they are unsure what someone is messaging them, something sounds too good to be true, a new contact comes out of the blue or a conversation suddenly changes direction. Work with your children to establish rules for how, when, and where the internet can be used and ask if anything ever worries them while they are online.
If you’re introducing your children to new (learning) technologies while school is closed, take the opportunity to talk to them about how to stay safe on these services and in general.
2. Explore together
Ask your child to show you their favourite websites and apps and what they do on them. Listen, show interest and encourage them to teach you the basics of the website or app. Children have been brought up with the internet and most use technology intuitively, often showing their parents how to use it.
Understanding the basic concepts of social media and gaming and how children access them will help you to understand the potential risks.
3. Discuss online impact
Children can communicate online through lots of different platforms, social media and games (WhatsApp, Instagram, FIFA, Fortnite and TikTok, for example), so it’s important to talk to your child about how they behave and communicate online. Encourage them to talk to people with respect, like they would if they were face-to-face.
4. Identify trusted adults
This includes you and other adults at home, as well as adults from your family or within the school’s community who they are able to contact at this time. Make sure they know that if they ever feel worried, they can get help by talking to you or another adult they trust. Most schools have safeguarding officers available for (online) child protection.
Most schools have safeguarding officers available for (online) child protection
5. Be non-judgemental
Explain that if something were to happen online that you are there to help and support them. Remind them that you love them, want to keep them safe and together you can deal with anything.
6. Supervise online activity
To protect your child, you want to make sure an adult is always in earshot of conversations. Keep the devices your child uses in communal areas of the house, such as in the living room or kitchen where an adult is able to supervise. Younger children especially should not access the internet unsupervised in private spaces, such as in a bedroom or bathroom.
Be alert to signs of distress in children that may emerge in connection with their online activity and voice your concern in case their actions are inappropriate. Make sure screens are positioned so you can easily monitor activities as you move around and make it part of your daily practice to check in randomly at what your child is looking at or listening to.
7. Parental controls
Ensure children’s devices have the latest software updates and antivirus programmes and use the parental controls available on your home broadband and all internet-enabled devices in your home.
8. Set the right example
Don’t forget to be aware of your own online safety too: when was the last time you changed your passwords? Who can see your social media platforms? Make sure you keep your privacy settings up to date to ensure your families' safety. As a working parent, make sure your work software and computer shut after a period of inactivity and need your password to re-open.
The school's building may be closed, but the Amity International School Amsterdam’s Admissions Experience is not! The Admissions Team is happy to answer all your questions regarding the admissions process via email or phone (0615222130 / 0615234305). Admissions are open throughout the school year.
Photo credits: Matthew Henry