Monday, 15 February 2016

Explaining Internet Safety To Children

Tilly doesn't really talk much about what she does at school and I don't really push her to tell me because I know she will tell me in her own time. But yesterday we were taking a bus journey as part of our trip to London and Tilly asked me if she could tell me about the story she learned at school. Of course I was delighted that she wanted to spare some time talking about what she does, when I am not there. So this is how the story went.

'There was a chick who lived on the farm and she went to the farmers house to use the internet. The chick had some fun on the internet buying lots of shoes, handbags and silly tea cups. Later on in the day, the chick was talking to another chick on the internet and the second chick was asking the farmers little chick what her name was and where she lived. So as the farmers chick thought the other chick was a friend, she told her all the details. After they were chatting for a while, they decided to meet up! The farmers chick went to the woods to meet the other chick, only to discover the chick wasn't a chick, he was indeed a Wolf! The wolf then ate the chick.'

How much of the story has actually come from the school book and how much she had made up herself, I don't know. But this was the moment that as young as my baby is, I realised she is well aware of what goes on in the world and that maybe I under estimated her ability to cope with what has gone on in our life. So this was the moment I chose to tell Tilly about Nathan Green and how he was a bad person on the internet, how he was nice to Tillys sister but when she went to spend her life with him - he turned out to be a wolf. I feel it was the right time to tell her and she showed me how grown up she really was and that I had under estimated her ability to cope with the truth. In reality she is struggling, but she is actually struggling with the not understanding of the situation. To her it looks like her sister just disappeared but now she understands what has happened, it is a step in the right direction.

With the schools teaching kids as young as 5 years old, it helps them to understand the dangers of the internet. When you and I were five years old the closest we got to a computer was something on Doctor Who on a Saturday night - but these days the internet is everywhere and kids as young as babies are targets of paedophiles. Please keep an eye on your kids using the internet, They have so much more freedom that we had with the world at their finger tips. Even us adults have had problems with people we meet on the internet, with social media growing all the time it is easy to add a friend that you don't know. Your like ...'nice person' and click the add friend button, sadly it often goes wrong and the person you classed as a friend turned into a psycho bitch or just a generally nasty person and they soon get deleted. With kids they add so many random people to their social media and they worry more about quantity than they do quality, it is a social status and quite often a competition to see who has the most friends.

Its often difficult for children to see the danger in people who they think are their friends, lets face it sometimes its hard for us adults to find out who our friends are. I am glad I took the opportunity to speak to Tilly about her sister and our experience with the internet and she is hopefully able to move forward now that she understands her sister didn't just walk away from her.

Have you spoken to your child about internet security? share this story with them too.

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