The IWF recently reported some grave stats about the rise in online child sexual abuse, namely the sharing of self-generated material online. What's devastating is that it's often happening in the family home - and parents are oblivious. Working out how to talk to kids about online safety can be a difficult matter but it's crucial we have the conversation, however uncomfortable. As part of Natterhub's #HaveTheConversation campaign, they have provided some top tips to help broach the subject of online safety with children, both at home and at school. Read on for some practical tips on how to get the conversation started.
Why is it important to talk to kids about online safety?
When thinking about how to talk to kids about online safety, it's important we understand why we need to have these conversations. The positive impact the Internet has brought to the world is undeniable. It has completely transformed our ability to share information and knowledge; improved connectivity and communication; revolutionised business and innovation; and created a global community with many opportunities. But it has also opened the door to harmful behaviour such as online grooming, which can have a devastating impact on children's lives.
Our children are growing up in a digital world - and they want to keep up - so simply denying them access is often counter-intuitive. Banning them from devices doesn't facilitate open and honest conversation and they are more likely to participate behind closed doors. The best way we can protect our kids is to encourage candid discussion about online safety and educate ourselves so we are better placed to empower our children to spot the dangers and mitigate the risks.
What are the 4 Cs of online safety for children?
Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) is statutory guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) which identifies the 4 C's of online safety risk. These include:
Children are unlikely to be equipped with the knowledge or skills they need to navigate these risks - and this is especially true when it comes to dealing with the contact and conduct of those who seek to cause harm. The danger is that children may not realise what is happening, or understand that it is wrong; they may feel under pressure to comply; or they could be scared to tell anyone in case they get into trouble.
With this in mind, online safety learning platform Natterhub, supported by the IWF, have launched an impactful new campaign called #HaveTheConversation, urging everyone to ‘have the conversation before someone else does.’ Its aim is to highlight that need for online safety conversations to happen right now to empower primary-aged children to detect danger in the digital environment and help them to thrive online.
And it's not just parents and carers who need to be having these conversations - Natterhub is also urging schools to think about how they talk to kids about online safety, through an embedded online safety curriculum. With a two-pronged approach, discussions about e-safety become as much a part of a child's every day life, as the devices they are using.
How can we talk about online safety in schools?
Both Ofsted and KCSIE require education settings to deliver online safety education, and it should be a fundamental part of any school's safeguarding and child protection measures - but this can be a challenge for under-resourced and time-strapped teachers. Here are Natterhub's top tips to help schools get the conversation started.
How can we talk about online safety at home?
A whole-school approach that includes school staff, volunteers, governors and school leaders, will have a huge impact on children's online safety education - but of course parents play a crucial role. Online education in school is structured and planned, but conversations between parents and their children can often be difficult and volatile - so it's easy to avoid them. So how do we talk to children about online safety at home? Here are some ideas from Natterhub to get you started:
Natterhub is an experiential online safety learning platform that looks and feels just like social media. Its mission is to embed online safety education, through over 350 fun and engaging lessons and resources in line with the DfE National Curriculum, Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and UKCIS 'Education for a Connected World' framework.
Click here for more information about Natterhub's #HaveTheConversation campaign and for access to free resources to help you start these vital conversations at home and at school.
It also features a wealth of Platform Advice and YouTuber information as well as other useful resources for parents, to help them to empower kids to be kind and safe digital citizens.
Thank you for reading our top tips about 'How to Talk to Kids About Online Safety' - now it's time to have the conversation before someone else does.
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