I’m not going to lie, we are a household of gadget lovers. We use the internet for working, household organisation, shopping and as a hobby. My children have grown up around me using the computer a lot, and so naturally they are going to want to join in on this.

I mean I even met my husband on the internet 15yrs ago before the word ‘internet dating’ even came out, and dating sites weren’t even made! So without it, life for us would have been very different. However my kids also love to get outdoors, we love exploring new places together and spending time together. So don’t think we are all stuck with our faces against the screen all weekend together! Ashley Heath

This means though we need to teach our kids internet safety, how to use it properly, respect it, and learn how to stay safe. There are some good articles around, including these ones on AO.com which talk about internet safety.

*Tyler using the Acer Iconia Tablet

I wanted to chat to you about a situation we experienced this year with my son. I am not ashamed to talk about it, and my son is happy I tell you about it, as we both want people to understand things like this can happen to anyone, not matter how savvy you are with the internet. 

My son is 13 years old, and computers are a big part of his life. He wants to be a computer programmer as his job, and is very set on what path he wants to take. He is very bright and is doing very well at school, the teachers have been struggling to set him work hard enough in his computer lessons as he finds it all too easy. He is very computer savvy, and enjoys both the systems and playing games too. He recently started to create live streams of his gaming for people to follow, and watch him talking about the game. He can chat to the people watching as he is playing the games. We have always been very open to him about the dangers of the internet, and to talk to us about anything he is unsure about. 

So one day a few months back he came up to me and said 

Hey Mum, there’s someone really nice who is helping me out with a game that I was stuck on

To which I replied to him and said yes that is very nice, but please be aware and talk to me if you not happy about anything, or unsure about them. 

So a couple of days later, Tyler came back up to me and said, 

Mum, I mentioned in my live stream that it was my birthday soon. Then this person who was helping me, has sent me a free game through my Steam account as a birthday gift. I said to him ‘Thanks for sending me the game, you shouldn’t have done that’. 

Then this was said to Tyler, 

That’s OK cutie

To which Tyler was not happy about straight away and replied back to tell him not to call me cutie, and it was inappropriate. The person then said to Tyler along the lines of 

Oh I am sorry if I upset you by calling you cutie. I know you’re probably not interested as I am a man and older than you, but I do think your cute.

Tyler knew straight away that this wasn’t acceptable to be calling him cutie, and then he got that message back he knew straight away that he should stop talking to this person. This man knew he was older than Tyler, and he was man but he still pushed it when Tyler had said don’t call me that.

Tyler came to me straight away and talked to me about this. At every stage he wasn’t sure he asked me, I kept the conversation open and honest with him and tried to allow him to think about it and what wasn’t acceptable. Instead of flying off the handle, and causing a big scene that next time could scare Tyler off from talking to me about it. 

Knowledge is very powerful

As we have spoken to Tyler about it in the past he said to me after this happened. 

I now realise that what you have spoken to me about in the past and you that you weren’t just being protective of me, that it can actually happen and there are some weird people out there. 

I was so proud of Tyler and how it handled the situation. We got the person blocked, and removed from anything to do Tyler. We also reported this to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre who were fantastic. They have a form that you can fill in with any details of the situation, but also the children can report things if they need to do it privately. 

They replied back quickly to me, and assured me that Tyler had done a fantastic job in talking to me and to keep that up with him. They also gave us some numbers to call if Tyler wanted to talk to anyone about what had happened. There are some great sites like Think You Know that help you talk to your children about it, or websites for the kids to look at to help them understand it.

I wish I could wrap my kids up and protect them from everything, however you can’t, you have to let them grow up, and the best thing you can do is to teach them how to handle experiences and talk to you. Please do keep talking to them about kids internet safety, no matter how hard it is be honest and open with them. 

*Collaborative Post 

teaching your child internet safety, how to stay safe on the internet, kids internet safety. Also see our experience when something can happen on the internet.

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22 Comments

    • It was pretty scary, it is the way teenage life now isn’t it, you can shield them from it….as much as I would love to

    • horrible isn’t it, I just wish people would be kind to each other, the world would be a much nicer place

  1. Well written.. the world wide web has penetrated our lives to a great extend and especially with Kids we need to be very careful. Open talking is a very good option

  2. Kudos to Tyler for handling that in a very mature way. I guess kids just need to be given the freedom they need but also to know that they can reach out when they need help. It’s great to talk about their lives and be honest about things that don’t sit right with them and the only way to know that “It doesn’t sit right” is if parents have had these talks with them. So Kudos to you too!
    Nickolai Kinny recently posted…15 Indian habits I lost after moving to England.My Profile

    • Thank you very much, I’m super proud of him for talking as soon as something wasn’t right for him.

    • Yes it is so scary isn’t it, we’re good people so we can’t understand it. I am hoping as the years ago by the internet will become more and more safer, and this type of thing doesn’t happen anymore.

  3. It’s just awful that these people target children like this. You must be so proud of how your little one dealt with the situation and well done to you for teaching him all about internet safety in a way that meant he felt comfortable talking to you about it. Well done for sharing and helping to spread awareness.

    • Thank you very much, it really shows that it does happen out there, and it’s so important to talk to them about it.

    • It is very scary, but I think the best thing you can do is moderate everything too

  4. I do worry about this a great deal. I’m not looking forward to my daughters getting to the age where they want to get involved with more interactive stuff online. Hopefully they’ll be as wise as Tyler!
    Grant R recently posted…My Top 6 Android Apps (2017)My Profile

    • They are teaching them a lot more at school now too, so hopefully kids can be knowledgeable enough to keep themselves safe

  5. Wow that is so scary – I am so glad your son came to talk to you but still these kind of things really make me nervous because not all kids think to talk to their parents and it can be very confusing and hard for them to deal with. We are not at the stage that our kids use gadgets on their own but will be putting as many safety procedures in place to keep them safe

    Laura x
    Laura recently posted…The Just So Festival With Low Cost VansMy Profile

    • Yes do put safety bits in, there are some really good apps and things you can put on to monitor them, restrict things and stop them accessing things. We have them on my girls computers, and they works great

  6. The internet can sometimes be such a scary place to be.

    the same this has happened to my brother before. I remember when we were younger, I was about 15-16 I can’t remember too clearly and my brother told me about a man who was buying him games online on he’s wish list. we didn’t think much of it because well, we were young. we made our parents aware and they restricted our time online but also advised us of what to do whenever you come across such people.

    • Yes seems a way of gaining trust and gifting them things, sad that the world has these types of people

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