David Ash
Raising Children in an Online World 

Our world has become incredibly fast paced and our children are right in the middle of the massive technological developments of our increasingly digital age. Whilst our technology has rapidly progressed, ways of monitoring and protecting vulnerable people and our children haven’t always kept up! Certainly, it has become increasingly difficult to know how to best protect our children from the dangers of this new digital world. 

It’s safe to say that many children and adults are increasingly connected to the internet via multiple smart devices, computers, wearable technology and increasingly in the plethora of video and online games. One stat suggested that the average teenager spends 9 hours a day in front of a screen! 

The problem for parents and carers is, it's difficult to know exactly what our children are doing online and what influences they are being exposed to.  

It’s very easy to become overly negative about the influence of technology on our day to day lives; however, it would be foolish to suggest that all this technology is negative. It has made accessing information quickly far easier, gone are the days of laborious investigations through old text books to find an answer. It’s also now far easier to find good family entertainment and complete school or college assignments.  

With good guidance the internet can be somewhere where our children can find helpful and productive hobbies or even begin to find interests which may stand them in good stead for the world of work in the future.  

Learning how we can help our children navigate this new world has become a vital part of the role of those who parent and care for children. It is important that with access to so much information, we help our children work out where they can find sources of good, accurate and helpful information online.  

There are so many things which clamour for our attention as parents but we should be careful not to devolve our responsibilities in this area to ‘professionals’ (e.g. teachers and youth workers) or those who influence our childrens educational and social development. These people will want to support them too but we should also be willing to take a lead in this area! 

It can be so difficult to know where to start when we want to support our children in the area of social media and the internet. As with many things it is far easier to put into place rules before you need them rather than repairing damage which has been caused by exposure to the wrong sorts of influences online.  

Where can I get help? 

Childline have got a really helpful resource on their website with all sorts of advice for children (and adults). You can read more here:  

              Online and mobile safe: https://jub.onl/2XElKnG 

              Staying Safe Online: https://jub.onl/2X9Nzao  

              Online Grooming Prevention: https://jub.onl/2MI0nkB  

WizCase have also produced a fantastic article about how we can safely raise children in an online world. You’ll find helpful tips, app suggestions and ways of helping protect your children online as well as information about how to support children who are suffering from cyber bullying: https://jub.onl/2MsuZGF 

The Government have produced a booklet which you can download from their website about Child Safety Online: https://jub.onl/2IFMi1J 

The NSPCC have a lot of information on their website: https://jub.onl/2X1cqNN  

BBC iWonder have produced this resource for parents: https://jub.onl/2Ic3o8t  

Childnet International have a great resource for young people, parents, cares and teachers on their website here: https://jub.onl/2WCpmdr