How parents can teach their child to be cybersmart

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When eight-year-old Annie* (not her actual identify) was learning on-line through the pandemic, she was given her personal system (a pill).

One day, a stranger despatched her a WhatsApp message saying he needed to be associates together with her. Not seeing any hurt in it, she agreed and so they began speaking on-line.

But after a number of days of chatting, the stranger requested Annie to take her personal bare selfie and ship it to him.

“He sent me his naked picture and said: ‘See, I’ve a very fair body. Can you take yours and send to me too? I want to see!’” she says.

Although it appeared like what a curious child would say, Annie says that she “felt weird” about it, that it wasn’t proper for her to take her personal bare image to ship to others.

Fortunately, Annie has a very good relationship together with her mom and determined to speak to her about it.

“I told Mummy this online friend wanted to see my naked picture and I asked her what to do,” she says.

Non-judgemental conversations

Yeap says parents need to engage in non-judgemental conversations with their children to teach them about cybersafety. Photo: WCC PenangYeap says parents want to interact in non-judgemental conversations with their youngsters to teach them about cybersafety. Photo: WCC PenangPreventing on-line child abuse from occurring begins with the parents as a result of they’re normally the closest contact level the child has, says Women’s Centre for Change (Penang) venture officer Yeap Yen Ying.

“As a parent, you need to start building a healthy relationship with your child where there’s trust and open communication, where your child feels safe and secure to talk about stuff with you, and where they won’t feel judged, condemned or blamed whatever happens,” says Yeap, who’s a social employee.

“If the child thinks they’ll be scolded or blamed whenever they share about their problems or what they’re going through, they’ll naturally close up and stop sharing.”

Some parents may simply inform their youngsters not to go surfing as a result of “it’s dangerous”, however that’s neither real looking nor sensible.

Children want to be on-line for their research and the Internet is a superb useful resource for studying, communication, leisure and extra, she provides.

“While parents can’t prevent their children from being online or making friends there, it’s possible to teach them how to be smart and safe,” she says.

“For example, parents can tell their child: ‘If you want to meet your online friends, how about I give you a lift to (a fast-food chain) and both of you can have lunch there? I’ll sit at the next table.’ This is a good way for parents to give their children the freedom to make friends yet help them keep safe,” she advises.

Parents want to interact in non-judgemental conversations with their youngsters to teach them about cybersafety, she provides.

“It can be as simple as asking them what’s happening online lately, and if they are facing any problems. Two-way communication can build up the relationship so that if and when they face any problems, they’ll be willing to talk to you,” says Yeap.

Seek assist if wanted

For parents who discover it tough to speak to their youngsters about on-line security, there are resources to assist them such because the Cybersafety: Keeping Children And Teenagers Safe Online Guidebook For Teachers And Parents.

These sources teach parents and academics how to speak to youngsters concerning the subject, together with utilizing social media correctly. There are additionally video games and actions that parents can do with their youngsters to begin the dialog.

People usually suppose the suitable time to speak to a counsellor is “after something has happened” however that couldn’t be farther from the reality, says Yeap.

It’s by no means too early or too late to search assist do you have to want it, she says.

Prevention is healthier than treatment, and earlier than something has even occurred, a counsellor can act as a mediator to assist parents broach the topic of on-line security with the youngsters. This may assist to reduce the incidence of on-line child sexual exploitation and abuse, she provides.

For youthful youngsters (main college age), one can set parental controls on their youngsters’s system in order that they can’t entry questionable websites.

But for secondary college youngsters, it’s tougher as a result of they’re on the “borderline” stage, and when you need to hold them secure, you additionally need to respect their privateness, she says.

To resolve this, you can begin conversations with them, set up that belief and two-way communication, and set some primary home guidelines, for instance, that they’re solely allowed to use their system inside a sure time-frame.

Yeap shares that when they’re approached to assist with a web based child exploitation and abuse case, they’ll discover what has occurred, collect proof, do counselling classes and supply emotional help.

“Then, we’ll go through the options they have on what they can do, and they will have to decide which option to take – whether they want to take action or not against the perpetrator.

“While some victims decide to move on with their own life and don’t want to take any legal action, other victims may decide otherwise,” she says.

“For the second option, we’ll meet them in person to go through the legal process and tell them what is involved. The parents might have to make a police report and the police will start their investigation. If there is evidence, the case will go to the justice system/court,” she provides.

“When the victim is called to court, we will support them, i.e. accompany them, etc. It can be a traumatic time for the family, especially the child because they’re the main witness, so we’re there to provide our support,” she concludes.

Where to get assist or recommendation

If you encounter on-line child sexual exploitation and abuse, contact a devoted child helpline resembling BuddyBear (1800 18 2327), message buddybear.humankind on Facebook Messenger/or go to humankind.my/buddybear-helpline.

You can additionally name the Talian Kasih helpline at 15999/WhatsApp 019-261 5999/or go to instagram.com/taliankasih15999 for emotional help and counselling.

For additional help, attain out to your nearest ladies’s or youngsters’s NGO:

Monsters Among Us: Youth Advocates (MAU)

Sisters In Islam

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

Women’s Centre For Change (WCC) Penang

PS The Children

Sabah Women’s Action-Resources Group (Sawo)

The Johor Women’s League (Jewel)

All Women’s Action Society (Awam)



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