Parenting in cyberspace — online advice for non-web-savvy mums and dads

By Susan Breen

Parenting in the cyber world is a daunting prospect. Some of us have come late, and somewhat reluctantly, to social media, and cyberbullying, trolling and the like are another unanticipated worry of modern parenthood. Schools are ahead of parents in providing ‘e-safety’ education for children as young as seven. However, as pointed out by my daughter’s headmistress, while we think we know 90 per cent of what children are viewing online the reality is 90 per cent of teenagers say their parents have no idea what they are up to.

Non-web-savvy parents are the weak link. We expect schools and the government to protect our children and then protest loudly when things go wrong.

One of the aims of the Online Safety Bill introduced into the House of Lords in May 2013 is to educate parents about online safety. Educating parents to keep their children safe is the most effective safeguarding measure. We must understand and enter their world. A few years ago, we might have been advised to restrict children’s use of telephones and computers, but that is no longer an option…

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