In our youth consultation for the upcoming Government Internet Safety Strategy, we asked 65 young people aged 11-18 years, who are part of our Childnet Digital Leaders Programme, a wide range of questions about what they felt could help to make the internet a better place for children and young people.
In one question we asked what they think parents need to understand better when it comes to their digital lives. Here are some of their responses:
- Understand that the internet plays an important and positive role in our lives
“[Parents need to understand] that not everywhere on the internet is so unsafe and which areas are.”
“They need to understand that the internet and social media plays an important part in their kids’ lives.”
- Understand what we’re going through
“I think that parents need to try and understand their children's situation more so that they know what they are going through so that they can try and help them better.”
“They need to understand the situation so that they can help more efficiently. They may also misinterpret the situation and scold their child rather than helping and empathising.”
- Be sensitive to our feelings and treat us with care
“They need to understand how children may feel if something goes wrong for them.”
“They need to treat their kids with care and respect when something happens online.”
- Give us some freedom to build trust and independence
“I think that parents need to understand that young children do need to be protected on the internet, however sometimes a small amount of freedom can aid them in some important life lessons.”
“Parents need to understand trust. Of course every parent trusts their child, but going against them is what makes their children go against them as well.”
“They can't protect their children all the time and need to let them make their own choices in an adult manner even if it means putting them at risk, giving the child the independence need for life.”
- We will make mistakes – but you can guide us through this
“They need to trust their children and realise that things can happen that might not be the best thing in the world but they should just talk it out with their child to gain their child's trust.”
“That children will make mistakes and they need to guide them through the process of what you could do.”
More advice for parents and carers
At Childnet we have a range of advice for parents and carers to help them empower their children to use technology safely and responsibly.
The most important thing you can do is to stay engaged with your children’s digital lives and have regular conversations about how they use technology and how they can use it safely.
We have some helpful conversation starters and an introduction to key e-safety topics at www.childnet.com/parents-and-carers.
There are also a range of parental controls which you can set up on devices your children use, as well as on your home internet. You can find out how to set these up and more advice about staying safe while using the internet at www.saferinternet.org.uk/parents.