Keeping safe online 6: good practice online

Games can form a healthy part of the online experience that children have, and there are various measures that parents and others can take to give children the best experience possible. Conversation is at the heart of everything that you’ll do with your children, especially regarding what they access online and ensuring that you are the first person the turn to if they do have any problems online.

It is particularly important to take time in the early stages in which children are going online, and, in the age profile of Guardians of Ancora, encouraging them to gain more independence regarding what is expected of them online and the boundaries that they need to work within.  

Internet safety agreements, discussed together as a family and tied to particular levels of competence, have proven incredibly effective.  

Don’t assume that children know it all, and remember that if the guidelines for use are fair and clear then quarrels over staying up late playing games don’t need to become an issue. Ensure that digital activity is seen as part of a healthy mix, rather than something that needs to be curtailed or feared.

The things that parents most fear, including paedophilia and ‘stranger danger’, are more hyped in the media than they are a risk in reality, but children should be warned not to hand out personal information, especially to those they have not met offline.

Dr Bex Lewis

Dr Bex Lewis is the Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint and the author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014), where you can find more information. Passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way and trained as a mass communications historian, Dr Lewis is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, with a particular interest in digital culture, and how this affects the third sector, especially faith organisations, voluntary organisations and government behavioural campaigns.