Parental Guide

Parental Advice

That pre-teen age (11-13 years old). What do you need to know to keep them safe in the Internet age?

Your bundle of joy is growing up, and at already the tender age of 11 he/she is reaching a more “independent” self-discovery phase in which confidence, self-worth and self-esteem all play a big role.

The Internet and pre-teens

At 11 – 13 years of age, youth who have been engaging with technology and the Internet find that they are more assertive when it comes to what they want to do and accomplish online. Research suggests that children this age spend around 4 hours a day on the Internet. While it is great to see your little one getting ready to “fly” into the tech world, it is vital to discuss security concerns and risks that come with using online media.

Statistics show that one in four children aged 11 to 12, who have set up a social media account, have had a bad experience on it (bad experiences range from cyber bullying, feeling “left out”, or being made fun of by friends online).

What you can do to make sure your child stays safe online

  • Communicate with your childYou must sit down with your child and discuss any concerns that you may have with them using new technologies, having a social media account and engaging in online actives. A good time to have a discussion is when they get the new devices or mention that they need to go online. Talk to them about the positive and negative aspects of using the Internet and social media sites. These types of discussions will open their minds to all the different possibilities and risks associated with the Internet.
  • Manage devicesIt is advisable to “manage” your child’s devices by putting them in a public area in the house. Internetmatters.org, a website security based program for children and parents, stated that parents need to “encourage children to use their tech devices in a communal area such as the living room or kitchen”. By doing this, you are able to keep an eye on what your child is getting up to online.
  • Be the one in controlRemember that you have the power to monitor your child’s online activities through the use of parental controls. You can also activate ‘safe search’ settings as well as set the times that your children have access to the Internet.
  • Privacy settings are always availableShow your children how to manage their privacy settings. Teach them how to “block” strangers that want to add them as friends and explain to them how to delete any unwanted content on their social media pages.