In order to keep children safe you must set them rules. Many children don’t understand that they need rules but after just a short while are happy enough to follow them. Rules like no internet access without parental supervision or having their emails/text message linked to your phone.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs this week, it is far easier to stop bullying at the start, nipping it in the bud as the saying goes, than it is to deal with it much later when you have no idea where to start and physical, emotional and social damage has already been done. Think of some of the times in the past that still haunt you to this day and stop you from doing what you want to do. Wouldn’t you do everything that you could to limit those type of memories your child gets. Even better, wouldn’t you want them to be happy memories and memories knowing they were safe and protected instead.
Children don’t always understand that the rules set by parents are there for good reason. They may think it isn’t fair or that you are punishing them, they may even voice their objections, but keep in mind that it is your job as a parent to keep your child safe. Other children are the responsibility of their parents. First and foremost it is your child you need to keep safe.
Smart Phones – the mobile way to get in trouble
Let me ask you a question.
Why does your child need a mobile phone, especially one with access to the internet? OK so you might be saying that if they need to call in an emergency, forgotten something important or they have a way to get in touch for any reason. It is unlikely that if ever there was an emergency your child would be the first to phone you. You should know where your child is most of the time in the day, often at school or home and so why would they need a phone? The school will contact you in case of an emergency.
The safety circle
Children should always know they have a set of people that they can turn to in times of need. People they can talk to and tell them anything without fear of embarrassment, disappointment or being laughed at. It may not be ‘a big thing’ to the person listening but to that child at that moment it can be a huge thing. If your child eventually tells you they are being bullied you must remember that it may have been eating them up inside for quite a while, they may have tried telling you in the past but decided not to in the last moment, fearing the will disappoint you or that you may think them weak. It is far from weak though, you must tell them that what they do by telling you something like they are being bullied is actually a very strong thing to do.
Establishing a group of people they can talk to and reminding them that they can tell them in anything confidence will give them that other option they may need before it gets too late.