How to start a conversation with your child about their online activity

How to start a conversation with your child about their online activity

There will possibly come a time when your child will encounter some form of a bad situation online. It is best to start having meaningful and open conversations with them early on in their online journey than have to crisis-manage a hurt, bullied or flamed child online.

Firstly, it is important to understand the terminology used by perpetrators and children online so that you can educate them or pick up where things are going wrong should they speak about it. The internet is full of resources to help you do this.

Secondly, take note of a few things in their behavior that could highlight the fact that things are not as “okay” as they seem:

  • Being secretive about who they are talking to online
  • Using sexual language you wouldn’t expect them to know
  • Communicating by means of a combination of emoji’s
  • Switching their screens off when you approach

How to begin the conversation

Ask a simple question like: “I read a story about an adult pretending to be a child online. Do you know if any of your friends have experienced anything similar?’’

Remember to:

  • Talk early
  • Talk often
  • Choose the right time
  • Open up and share too
  • Create a safe space

Don’t:

  • Nag or get upset
  • Don’t ignore them if there is a problem
  • Don’t condone any bad behavior on their part
  • Don’t just remove their device until you have got to the bottom of the story

Do:

  • Find out the facts and reasons why
  • Let them talk and finish their sentences and listen more than talk
  • Talk it through in a calm fashion and explain your concerns
  • Be loving, caring, supportive and non-judgemental
  • Take a break if need be
  • Teach by example
  • Learn from the experience

Keeping the line of communication open with your child could be a lifesaver for them during their online journey!

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