As the early nights draw in, what better way to enjoy the lead up to Christmas than by getting creative with our online Diggerland festive fun. You can even share your dig-tastic accomplishments on your various social media channels. Talking of enjoying online activities and sharing these via your socials, we have some top tips for staying safe whilst surfing the big world wide web!
While you may think to monitor your child’s online activity, this will not eliminate their risk completely. What’s more is that this can sometimes lead to children feeling anxious or like you don’t trust them.
For us at Diggerland, the best way to eliminate online risks is through education. Making your children aware of the dangers and how to identify risks online, they’ll be more aware of how to protect themselves. It will also empower them to raise any concerns with yourself, teachers or any other adults.
What risks does the internet pose?
The internet can be a brilliant place for children to research, explore and even express themselves. It’s also great at developing your child’s technical skills, which they will no doubt need in our tech-heavy future! Children can also strengthen their communication and social skills by playing games or chatting with friends online.
However, there are some serious risks that could come with online activities. Nowadays, it’s extremely easy for children to be exposed to inappropriate content or cyberbullying.
Exposure to inappropriate content
Children are becoming more aware of the internet from a much younger age than before, and therefore they’re more likely to be active online younger. As a result of this, children are much more likely to see content not appropriate for their age. Inappropriate content can include material directed at adults, upsetting information or images and misinformation that encourages children to do dangerous or illegal behaviour.
There are a number of factors that can increase the possibility that your children may see inappropriate content, including:
- Joining social media platforms before reaching the minimum age
- Watching live streams that are not age-appropriate
- Using apps or playing games that are not suitable for children
Without online supervision and content blockers, children can stumble upon confusing or upsetting content. For example, the popular social media platform, TikTok, has very limited safety for children as you cannot filter content. While users can choose to ‘follow’ certain accounts, you are also able to see content from over one billion creators worldwide.
So how can we protect children from inappropriate content? While you’ll never be able to monitor everything your child sees online, you are able to help them avoid unsuitable content.
1. Teach children how to navigate the internet safely
Educating children on how to remain safe online is a crucial skill in 2021. You can show them how to enter safe search terms and find secure websites, which will allow them to complete educational tasks such as homework. Likewise, explaining things like YouTube Safe Mode will ensure they can watch age-appropriate videos they love.
The amount of young people joining social media platforms is growing year on year and children can sometimes feel pressured into having social media. It is important to discuss that many social media platforms have age restrictions and that these are there to protect them.
You could also explain to your children what they should look out for while online. For example, inappropriate and graphic content is unfortunately not limited to websites. It can also be found within emails, direct messages and pop-up ads. By talking about when it’s okay to click on a link or download content, they will be more aware of the risks.
2. Install firewalls and content blockers
Make use of the built in safety apps that will come with your child’s devices! You can also download parental control apps to provide that extra layer of protection. By installing these the device will restrict all adult content, making it much less likely for your child to see it.
What do I do if my child has seen inappropriate content?
It’s a good idea to be prepared in case your child does tell you they’ve seen something inappropriate online. The best thing to do in this situation is to remain calm and let your child know that it is not their fault. Instead, keep the conversation open and encourage your child to talk to you when something upsets them online. After that, you can find the content and block all access to it, to help your child feel safe.
Here at Diggerland, we know that cyberbullying can be extremely distressing for children, and unfortunately is not uncommon. Like bullying, which you might find on the playground, cyberbullying can be described as upsetting or abusive communications. This could be done over a private message, on social media or within emails.
Possibly the worst thing about cyberbullying is that these upsetting messages or posts can reach a vast audience within seconds through the power of social media and email chains. In some cases, the perpetrator is able to retain a degree of anonymity, which makes it more difficult to control.
The biggest difference between cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is that harmful activity online can happen at any time, anywhere – even within your own home. Examples of cyberbullying include:
- Rejection or exclusion from games, groups or chats
- Threats and intimidation
- Manipulation and harassment
As social media and the internet grows so does the way children can be negatively affected. The first step in avoiding or tackling cyberbullying is to start a conversation about what it is. Many children may not even realise they are being bullied online.
Like you would teach your children what is kind and unkind to say at school, you should do the same with the way they communicate online. Discuss what types of words are acceptable and unacceptable. This way they’ll know how to communicate happily with their friends, and they’ll also be aware of any unkind behaviour towards them.
Online activities with Diggerland
Although our Diggerland parks are closed for winter, that doesn’t mean there’s no fun to be had! Now you know how to stay safe online, why not have a go at our festive, digger-themed activities!
Can you help Duggy, Dotty and Digger Jake complete them all? Fun awaits here at Diggerland!BOOK TICKETS ON OUR WEBSITE