A few weeks ago I happened to be watching Channel 4's Sex Education Show.
It cut to the heart of several issues relevant to young people today with a frankness I found admirable, if unexpected. I imagine there were more than a few parents and other adults who learned a thing or too that night too.
Amongst it all was an insight into the way young people are using the internet to fill the gaps in their 'education'. Whilst my child is thankfully too young for me to worry (and worry I do) about this yet; I wouldn't know where to begin addressing this with a teenager if I had one.
However the NSPCC recently launched it's safety.net campaign which, in times of ever rapid technological and online developments, helps adults encourage children and young people to use the internet with safety in mind.
It opens with these 8 top tips.
- Never give out personal details
- Explain to your children what about them is personal information
- Think carefully about information and pictures
- The internet is not a private space
- Do not believe or respond to spam
- Do not open files from people you don't know
- Some people lie online
- Always keep communication open with your child
On the NSPCC's website it fills out each top tip with more detail about exactly what that might mean for your family.
What's clear to me is that the earlier you start these guidelines with your children, the better. Of the many young people aged 14 to 19 I've met through my work, this advice would already be too late for them. Don't wait to find out what your child is up to from Channel 4, get in there and support them to use the internet in a postive, educational and fun way now.