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Safe online: Advice for parents of 11-13 year olds

Virgin Media Staff

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Research shows that the average age a child gets a smartphone is between 10 and 11.

At this age kids are socialising online, discovering and creating new friendship groups and activities. Unfortunately this means that they could face issues from peer-pressure to cyberbullying, or seeing things they shouldn't.

This is why we're working with our partners at Internet Matters to introduce you to Digital Resilience – methods and tips to help children prepare for any issues they may face on line, and how to learn and recover from them.

Here's our top tips for supporting and encouraging Digital Resilience in 11-13 year olds:

Have conversations about their online world

Ask them what they're doing online, and how they behave towards others.
Keep an eye on their Social Media output - but explain that you're just giving them a helping hand as they learn how to use these sites and apps safely.

Discuss their digital footprint

Remind them that if something is posted online, it will be recorded and could come back to affect them in later life..

Talk about finding their identity and sources of content

They'll be spending the next few years trying to find out who they are, and connecting to people online and offline with similar interests, so make sure they know how to verify sources of information.

Use Stop, Speak, Support to deal with online challenges

The Stop, Speak, Support concept - https://www.stopspeaksupport.com/ - is simple, so use it with you child to resolve bad situations online
Stop whatever it is that's making them uncomfortable.
Speak to someone about what they've seen - whether that's a responsible adult or website moderator.
Support No-one should be left to deal with cyber-bullying alone. Offer your children support and a positive distraction, and encourage them to support their friends if they see they are being treated unkindly.

Talk about what resilience means to them

Help your children understand what they are reading - and why it's been written. Look at the difference between 'bullying' and 'banter' and consider the context of how comments are made.

Find out More

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There’s some incredibly useful content over on the Internet Matters website that you can explore if you’d like more advice on building your child’s digital resilience.

We’ll be featuring more content each day this week:

Part 1: Helping kids stay safe online - Introducing Digital Resilience 
Part 2:  Advice for parents of 6-10 year olds

And you can always talk all things security in our Switched On Families forum

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*Source:Internet Matters OL research 2016
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