Have a Merry Techy Christmas

Have a Merry Techy Christmas

Not long ago I met Jessie, a mother who spoke to me about how technology changed her life as a parent. She jokingly told me that what the Rubik’s cube was to her generation, the internet is to today’s. We are all aware of the great challenges technology presents, but for today I wish to focus on the advantages and opportunities that previous generations dreamt of having. The internet, for one thing, has resulted in an incredible amount of information. Do you have a question about breastfeeding, or how to discipline your child or how much time your child should spend on the tablet? Just Google it! With a bit of skill and experience most users can tread through the overload of information and hand pick something useful. Technology can also be a unique tool that brings families together. I will never forget when our family bought the Wii-Fit a few years ago. The number of hours we spent together in front of this game joking, laughing and having fun was unforgettable. The next few weeks leading up to Christmas can be a demanding time for parents due to the amount of parties and events your child is invited to. Not to mention the family events, buying presents, catching up with friends and so on. As tablets, iPads, smart phones and other fancy presents are wrapped in time for Christmas, it could be easy to lose sight of what, in my view, should be at the centre of this holiday – family. The message that often is given by ibrowsesafely is to spend time with your children, in particular...
Cyberbullying: How to recognise and deal with the signs

Cyberbullying: How to recognise and deal with the signs

I would like to share John’s story – a 12 year old boy who comes across as confident and rather popular with friends. John was upset because his friends took a photo of him (without his knowledge) in a funny pose and posted it on Instagram. They then tagged him so everyone he knew could see it. He found this very hurtful. Just a few days earlier, these same friends treated him like he was special and a part of their ‘inner sanctum’. This blowing hot and cold is all part of the bullying cycle of abuse and John was well and truly roped into it. It had a detrimental effect on John’s self-esteem. This reminded me of the bullying behaviour I and others faced back in our secondary school years. The dynamics around cyberbullying are very similar to that of real life bullying we faced as children. However, online bullying is more challenged because life on social media does not stop when the bell rings and children make their way back home. When I was John’s age, I could feel safe, away from the bully when not at school and the friendships I built outside school gave me the strength to face the bully at school. John’s bullies follow him home on social media and this is a concept that people of my generation (or older) did not experience as children. Therefore, we need to develop a strong degree of empathy towards our children to try and understand the experiences they are going through when they engage with social media, which is a very important part of their...

Cyber Safety – What parents should do…

As the internet continues to form an inherent part of our social fabric and children go online at ever younger ages, parents need to arm themselves with tools to help guide their offspring through this exciting, though potentially daunting cyber-world. Internet usage by children has substantially increased over the last five to six years. Furthermore, children are also going online when they are younger. MCA’s latest study ‘Children’s Internet Use and Parents’ Perceptions of Their Children’s Online Experience’, states 99’4% of children in primary and secondary schools have access to the internet and 78% of children look to their parents for information related to the internet. These facts underline the importance of parental support and guidance when using the internet. ibrowsesafely.com.mt’s 6 Golden Rules Below are the other steps parents can take to help their children be safe online. Keep an open diologue with your child Set up parenting controls Spend time with your child using the technology they use Agree boundaries and set rules Keep up to date with technology Pay attention to age ratings when choosing activities for your child In the tumultuous and every-changing cyberworld, parents can take action to try and support their children in navigating the wide and sometimes scary world of the internet. The amount of information and the speed at which trends reverse can be overwhelming, especially for parents brought up in a more technologically-bereft age. Parents can take back some measure of control by following a few easy steps. The foundation of all of these is keeping an open dialogue. Speaking to your child about their internet usage is the best...
Stay safe, have fun, enjoy sport!

Stay safe, have fun, enjoy sport!

“I love playing football because it is fun”. This was one of the most popular responses children gave in a recent national survey conducted by The Football Association. The internet has become part of the social fabric and the way it is used can affect a child’s safety as well as the level of enjoyment the child gets out of sport. Take the example of John* a 13-year old boy with a proud father who wanted to further his son’s football career. In his determination for John to join a professional academy, the father used a social media website to promote his son to clubs and their scouting network. This may seem innocuous enough as it showcased John’s considerable talent through videos and photos. However, the information uploaded led to the child being groomed by an adult posing as a scout. As a result John was placed at risk of significant harm which had a direct impact on his ability to enjoy the beautiful game of football. Parents, coaches and children need a safe way of communicating. This ensures that not only are the rights of the child being safeguarded but also that the necessary messages are getting through. Having the ability to communicate effectively can improve players’ and parents’ sense of belonging to a particular club and can also enhance coaching techniques. Social media can also encourage team spirit but this is an area where additional parental supervision may be required. Children on the same team can form groups on social media websites to discuss games and build a positive sense of belonging. Adult monitoring is necessary to...