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Keeping your kids cyber-safe

The internet is full of cyber-safety tips for parents to keep their children safe. Most of them are useful but here are what I believe to be the most important ones.

1. The best protection comes from your relationship with your child

Being in a close, friendly relationship puts you in the ideal position to monitor and protect your child.

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2. The best internet filters are the ones in your child’s head

Software and gadgets can make it harder for your children to get into mischief, but self-control and character are the best filters. How do your children get them? See point one.

3. Understand about immature impulse control

Yes, you are close to your child. Yes, your child has great character and good values – but they are still a child, and any child can trip up, especially with a bit of peer pressure and hormones added to the mix. Hope for the best, but stay vigilant, and even check for a bit sneakiness.

4. Maintain your authority

If they are so young the law won’t let them drive and the bank won’t give them a loan, it means they are still too young to have unrestricted, unsupervised access to technology. “I hope you have a lot of fun on-line, but I want you to be safe and responsible, so there have got to be a few rules.”

5. Figure out what the real problem is

If the problem is bullying, or sexting, or porn, or whatever – the problem is not with the phone or the app or the internet. Text bullying is about bullying, sexting is about sex. You need to put on your parent-hat, not just your cyber-tech-hat.

6. Work deals and contracts

Negotiate agreements with them about technology use. How long? Who pays? What is acceptable and what is not? The real value is not the signed bit of paper you end up with – the real benefit is the discussion you have getting there.

7. Lead by example

Ouch. That is always the toughest bit of being parent. Research indicates that the number of hours children stare at screens is remarkably similar to their parents. As we demonstrate our own good cyber habits, we have a better chance of seeing them in our children. By the way, they have checked your browser history.


A week with Gordon Neufeld – get your tickets today!

We are thrilled to host Dr Gordon Neufeld in September 2017. He is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience and a foremost authority on child development. He is also best-selling author of Hold On to Your Kids. During his week with us, he will be facilitating a series of workshops, including –

  • The surprising thing about attachment
  • Making sense of preschoolers (and anyone who acts like one)
  • How to take the lead in your child’s digital world
  • What’s making our kids so angry?

Find out more and get your tickets here.

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About Author

John Cowan

Writer, speaker and broadcaster, John Cowan shares his insight and opinions about the latest in parenting and family news in New Zealand. Hear John speak on radio stations every week throughout the country and regularly on national TV.  Follow @JohnCowanNZ on Twitter

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