Engage in discussions with children about their perceptions of normal online behaviour and what to expect from others as well as themselves. Encourage them to think critically and question the content they encounter online. Talk about reliable sources of information, the existence of fake news, fake followers and scams. Help them cultivate a healthy skepticism towards people’s identities online.
Share your wisdom and experiences regarding relationships. Teach them that sometimes individuals may initially seem kind but later exhibit mean behaviour. Assure them that they can openly discuss these situations with you, without fear of panic or punishment. Guide them on how to report any concerning behaviour they come across online. For example, familiarise them with the appropriate channels to report such incidents through Netsafe.
Create a family code with your child to agree on what they can do online including sites to visit, appropriate behaviours, privacy settings and limits.