A series of 5 videos designed to support parents and children navigate online safety were launched this week.
These short videos were developed in County Kildare, with a group of parents from St. Farnan’s Post Primary School, Prosperous. The project is a response from a number of agencies including: County Kildare LEADER Partnership, Foróige Drug Prevention and Education Initiative and Tusla Child and Family Agency all working together under the umbrella of Kildare Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC), with the aim of supporting parents to keep their children safe online.
The videos were filmed in December 2019 and edited in early 2020. They were due to launch in March, at the time that the Coronavirus resulted in the widespread closure of services. The launch was postponed until this week.
The Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator in St. Farnan’s School supported the project; Andrew Little told Kildare CYPSC that
"These videos are a really good method of communicating with parents. It is great for parents in Kildare to receive messages from other parents with whom they can relate. It makes the information seem more relevant.”
The videos provide online safety tips and encourage parents to do five key things;
- “Start the conversation” - Parents start talking with your children about online safety, early in their online life.
- “Agree limits” - Parents can download a family agreement template and learn about the importance of setting limits to online time.
- “Be informed” - It is important for parents to keep themselves informed about the online world, and this video provides some tips for helping parents stay up to date.
- “How much time was I online today?“ - Parents can set positive examples regarding online activity to their children through their own online lives.
- “Parents share and learn” - The support of parent to parent peer support is fantastic, and this video encourages parents to link in with each other to provide that support network.
Being involved in the initiative made Laura Ryan, one of the participating parents, think about her own online time and the importance of parents leading by example in how they conduct themselves online. Laura also feels that parents supporting other parents is hugely important and said
“every parent has got some worry about their child or children and talking to other parents is a great support.”
The changes to our world since Covid-19 has highlighted the potential benefits of technology, the internet and online connectivity. The purpose of the video series is to raise awareness among parents about the importance of staying involved in the online life of their child/children to ensure that they experience cyberspace safely.
Denise Hayes, another parent involved in the project echoed that sentiment saying
“When you hand over a device to a child you are opening them to the worldwide web, and parents need to know that the dangers are real and stay in touch with monitoring their use of it.”
Laura Ryan also reflected on the situation today versus ten years ago when her children were in their pre-teens:
“Back then there was less known about online risks. Now there is much greater awareness of the dangers to young people as well as the benefits. And ultimately, we are in a more informed place about the importance of the role parents play in their children’s online lives.“
This online safety campaign reminds parents, that there is no quick fix in supporting their child’s online life, but small interventions can have positive lasting results.
Visit Kildare/West Wicklow Parenting Forum Facebook page to watch the videos.
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