A key strategy for keeping young children safe is to help them identify who they would talk with if something bothered or upset them. These trusted adults can help sort out a problem and advocate for the child if needed.
This is a good strategy for the online environment, too. Discuss with your child who they can talk with if something has bothered them when they’re online. It’s also important they understand they won’t be blamed for the problem and the technology won’t be taken away if they raise a concern. After all, the technology is not the problem, it is how the technology is used or misused that is the issue.
We designed the Hector’s World Safety Button™ with this in mind. That is why the message on the button’s screen commends children for covering the screen and encourages them to go tell someone about what happened. They are too young to deal on their own with things like violent or pornographic images that can sometimes be imbedded in emails, or on websites they clicked by mistake. The first step is to deal with the immediate problem, and the second step is to offer the education and skills, and possibly employ technology which can help prevent a reoccurrence.
Trusted communication with your child about their life online becomes more crucial as they grow older and more independent. It is probably the single most powerful strategy for parents to keep children safe online.
Siblings and extended family
The whole family has a role in the safety of the youngest online. Often little ones will be fascinated with what older children are doing online. Older siblings and grandparents can be very positive and knowledgeable mentors of the young.