10 Internet Safety Tips for Parents

I recently published posts with 10 Internet Safety Tips for Students and 10 Internet Safety Tips for Teachers.

If parents, teachers and children can all work together to build a culture of safe and positive internet use, problems can be minimised.

Internet safety is a topic that should be regularly and authentically discussed in classrooms, staffrooms and homes.

Here are some key messages around internet safety that could help parents help their children.

In addition to following these tips, parents might want to install filters on their home computers.

1. Don’t let potential problems stop you from letting your child use technology for their education and personal interests.

2. Put computers in a communal area of the house and don’t allow portable internet devices (laptops, phones, tablets etc) in the bedroom.

3. Find out what your child is doing online. Talk to them regularly about what websites they visit and take the time sit with them as they use the internet. Make sure you’re familiar with how the sites that they visit work.

4. Encourage your child to tell you if they ever have a problem on the internet or if they’re ever unsure about anything. Reassure them that you won’t take away their connection to the internet if issues occur.

5. Remind your child to keep personal information private. YAPPY is a useful acronym to remind children of the personal information they should not share on public online spaces (blogs, forums etc.) – Your full name, address, phone number, passwords, your plans.

6. Remind your child that not everything on the internet is true and not all internet users tell the truth.

7. Don’t support your child to sign up for sites that are 13+ if they are under age (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc). Make sure your child sets their online accounts to private to limit access to people they know well (when they are old enough to sign up).

8. Encourage your child to balance their leisure time so they’re not spending all of their time online.

9. Create your own internet rules for your household and have your child agree to adhere to them.

10. Explore government resources for parents so you can educate yourself and protect your children on the Cybersmart website.

How to offer internet safety tips to parents is another question worth thinking about.

I am thinking of adding a page on my class blog with tips for families. Regularly publishing tips in the school newsletter could also be beneficial.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/44102337@N03/7882614208 Attribution: CC BY-NC 2.0

I am also considering inviting parents for a cyber safety afternoon early in the new school year. The event could involve children and parents learning about and discussing safe internet use together. Hopefully the lines of communication would then continue into the home environment.

What other internet safety tips for parents would you add? I’d love parents to share what advice they think is important.

How can schools pass on internet safety tips to parents?

Getting Parents Involved in Blogging

Note: since writing this post, I have created a more detailed guide to helping parents connect with your class blog. Find it here on the Teacher Blogging Challenge site.

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One of the many benefits of having a class blog is the strengthening of home-school relationships.

A class blog can provide a virtual window into the classroom.

After having a class blog for three years, I have got the message loud and clear that parents and families love being able to keep up with the classroom events and student learning.

Something that I have pondered a lot is

How do we get parents more actively involved in the class blog?

Most of my parents have email subscriptions to the class blog and read most posts but actual comments from parents haven’t been overly frequent.

This seems to be common in the world of blogging and social networking. Apparently 90% of readers never contribute, 9% contribute a little and 1% contribute a lot (click here to read more about that research). I would say this statistic is true in regards to my class blog.

The first step to get parents commenting is education. At the start of the year I send home a detailed tutorial on how to leave a comment which you can read more about in this post. I have also made a page with video and written instructions on the class blog here. Next year, I will also demonstrate how to leave a comment at our parent information evening.

Here are two initiatives I have trialled which successfully encouraged parents and families to leave more comments on our blog.

Family Blogging Month

This idea came from Linda Yollis who provides a wealth of information on educational blogging on her wiki here. I adapted Linda’s model for my classroom and I have now repeated the concept a few times.

This idea involves declaring a certain month “Family Blogging Month” and encouraging students to get as many of their friends and family to comment on the class blog as possible. I kept a star chart to keep track of comments.

star chart

At the end of the month the child/family with the most comments receives a prize. For our May is Family Blogging Month challenge which you can read about here, almost all families joined in and we received 275 comments. We asked the local pizza restaurant to donate a voucher as a prize and the winner also got to write a guest post on our class blog.

Next time, I think I will keep a star chart for the number of different people the students invite to comment on the blog rather than the number of comments in total.

Question for Parents

Last week, I trialled another idea, inspired by Henrietta Miller. I wrote a post specifically for parents (and anyone else) to comment on. The topic was “What was school like for you?” I sent an email to all parents asking them to comment. The response has been amazing! We have had more comments on this post than we have ever had on any post. The students have been fascinated by the information in the comments and some thoughtful conversations have been developing.

question for parents

Next year, I plan to do regular “Question for Parents” posts to involve families in the blog more.

I am always on the look out for new ideas to encourage families to comment on our class blog.

What ideas do you have?