1. Have a kōrero about online safety
The internet opens up lots of potential dangers for tamariki – cyberbullying, pornography and scams are just a few. Even if they aren't searching for inappropriate content, they could be stumble upon it. Have a whānau kōrero about the importance of safety online.
Set limits and boundaries around what sites they can and can't visit. Talk about age restrictions for certain apps. While many younger children are using apps like TikTok, remember the 13+ age restriction is there for a reason.
This is also a good time to talk about having strong privacy settings and keeping passwords private.
2. Monitor appropriately
The best online safety tool you have is talking, listening and setting your own whānau boundaries.
For younger children, you might want to keep tabs on their internet use to make sure they aren't viewing anything they shouldn't be. There are apps and parental control software that you can use, but remember that this software isn't foolproof. Netsafe have a good list of parental control apps.
As children grow older and become more independent, 'snooping' might make them feel like you don't trust them. The way you monitor and filter internet access for teenagers depends on your level of trust. If you do monitor their internet use, tell them. Let them know that you are only doing it to keep them safe.
3. Let your child teach you
Your child probably knows more about technology than you do! Be interested in the way they are using technology – ask what apps they use, who they talk to online and what the latest trends are.
When you get stuck, ask for their help and work it out together as a whānau.
By learning more about technology and the way they use it, you will be able to keep them safe.
4. Bullying is never okay
Let your tamariki know that they can come to you at any time if they are being bullied or harrassed online. If your child is being bullied, listen to how they are feeling and take their concerns seriously.
Social media sites have ways of reporting online bullying and blocking unwanted contact. Netsafe have a really helpful guide called Staying Safe Online, with information on how to report and block.
If your child has bullied someone else, let them know that you still love them but not their behaviour. Talk to them about their behaviours and let them know that it's making someone else feel sad.
Dr Karen Harris from Oranga Tamariki shares tips for talking with tamariki about bullying in this video.
5. Stay up-to-date
The internet changes every day. One day Snapchat is the latest craze, the next our tamariki and rangatahi are dancing to BENEE on TikTok!
There are lots of helpful resources for whānau to stay up-to-date. Here are some great websites.