Some things to think about
Safety settings on your computer
Someone who isn’t a real friend will at first pretend to be kind when they write to you on your computer. It’s best to only email friends you know personally and make sure that your computer is protected. This means when parents and carers are choosing internet protection that they buy one with a ‘child safety’ function. This will be kept in the locked position.
Smartphones and tablets
Smartphones are fun to use as a learning tool and a way of keeping in contact with friends, parents and carers especially when there is a change of plan such as who is going to collect you from the cinema. It’s beneficial to set restrictions on the phone and to remove non-monitored browsers. If you’re not sure how your phone provider will do this for you.
Social networking sites
There are many favourite networking sites, groups and forums used by young people. It’s worth agreeing with your child which one or ones will enable them to enjoy the company of their friends. Talking about topics of conversation that appear on the sites is helpful but at some point you’ll need to decide together when the young person takes control.
Not everyone likes to or finds it easy to admit that something is wrong. If a young person has been subjected to bullying and harassment good quality support at the earliest opportunity can make a difference to his or her recovery. Support groups may help the young person through a difficult time but also empower them to bring about future change.
Who you talk to if you need help
It is imperative that a young person communicates in their chosen style. Often meeting with others in the virtual world is their only or preferred option to socialise in the evening and at weekends. Parents and carers may want to think about how their young people can spend more time with their peers in the community as well young people without disabilities.