17 May 2024

Online privacy checklist for parents

Every click, share, comment and post we make online creates a digital record that can be impossible to erase. Growing up with digital technology, children today face risks to their privacy, identity, reputation and safety like never before. As parents, we can support our children with both the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the online…, Online privacy checklist, Check devices  Make sure that every device your child uses – including smartphones, tablets, computers and smart devices (such as internet connected toys, speakers and watches) – are up to date and running the latest software. Doing so helps protect against security risks like unauthorized access, identity theft and data breaches. Check the…, How to get started with younger children, Online privacy - a group of children take a selfie photo together Start early  When your child begins using digital devices, find ways to introduce them to the idea of privacy both as a right and key to staying safe online. Use age and developmentally appropriate language to explain why we need to keep personal information safe and how what we do…, For parents of older children and teens, Online privacy - a girl uses a mobile device Encourage open conversation  A great way to start the conversation with older children is to ask them to teach you about their favourite platform. While you’re exploring together you can ask them if they have ever felt pressure to share personal information online or know someone who has? What would…
14 May 2024

Video games and children: A guide for parents

Learning, creativity, connections – video games offer some amazing opportunities for children of all ages (and grown-ups). But parents can find it tricky to navigate the topic of video games with their children. What games? How much screen time? What are the risks? We spoke to video games expert Professor Daniel Johnson, from the Australian…, How can parents best engage with their children and video games? , One of the things we really encourage parents to do is to play video games with their children. Sit down and let them teach you how to play. Let them be the expert. Let them have the joy of showing you their worlds. And what we find from talking to parents is that once they start doing this, their point of view shifts and they can have a much more…, What benefits can video games offer children and adolescents?  , We're all drawn to activities that satisfy our needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness. And video games, when designed well, are incredibly good at satisfying those needs. There are a huge range of benefits that result from videogame play including positive emotion, engagement (associated with happiness), making connections, meaning making…, What are some of the risks around video games that parents should know about?  , Know who your child plays with I think we need to be thinking about who our children are playing with? Who are they meeting online? What level of awareness does a child have about what information to provide or not provide to a stranger online, or even to someone they think they know online?  There are some very bad actors out there, but there are…, Many parents worry about how much time their children spend playing video games. What’s your advice? , What is an appropriate amount of video game play time varies a lot. If it's the middle of school term and a child has a bunch of homework due the next day, then the right amount of play might be zero minutes. If it's the school holidays and they spent yesterday at the beach and they're spending tomorrow at a museum, then maybe a lot of play is…, Do you have any tips for parents of younger children on how to start out with games?, The rating systems can be really helpful, but the problem is that a lot of the content on mobile stores doesn't have a rating. Other parents have been down this path before though, and there are some great communities and forums where people highlight the strengths and weaknesses of different games, along the lines of: “This game is pretty good…, What do you think the gaming industry could do better?, I think those dark or deceptive design elements need to be called out and really thought about.  Are they ever appropriate? If they are ever appropriate, what age group are they appropriate for?  I think we can agree that is not appropriate for a 5-year-old to be playing a game in which a character suggests they ask their parent for money to buy…
08 May 2024

10 ways to create healthy digital habits at home

Raising kids in the digital age isn’t easy. It can be tough to keep up with the pace of emerging technologies and to understand how to balance the risks and opportunities that come with them. We spoke to digital parenting expert Dr. Jacqueline Nesi for her top tips on fostering a healthy relationship with technology as a family., Communicate early and often about the role of technology in your family’s life., 1. Ask your child questions about their devices the same way you would any other activity they’re engaged in. Find out what they like about them, what they don’t like about them, how often they use them and what’s working. 2. Discuss the risks of technology use. Talk to your children honestly about concerns you may have, such as devices getting in…, Set boundaries that make sense for your family., 4. Make “yes” and “no” rules. “Yes” rules are things your child should do. How do you want them to act online? What does it mean to be a good digital citizen? What does “healthy” technology use look like in your family?  “No” rules, on the other hand, are things you don’t want them to do (like bullying others) or things they shouldn’t do for…, Be aware of your children’s use of devices., 7. Explore technology together. Try co-viewing and co-use with children of all ages. This simply means watching or using technology together with your children. This could include watching a show together and talking to them about it. For an older child, have them show you what they’re up to online – what they’re interested in, what apps they like…, Model healthy habits for your children., 9. Act as a team. It’s important as parents to be aware of how (and how often) we’re using our own devices – and that’s hard! But joining with your children in establishing healthy habits and boundaries is a good opportunity to step outside of the “me versus you” dynamic that so often parents fall into with their children, and instead work to…
22 April 2024

What you need to know about “sharenting”

Navigating parenthood in the digital age is no easy task. Social media, smartphones and other technologies are advancing at a rate that seems to grow faster than our children and it’s not always clear how to use them safely – even when you have the best of intentions. Many parents and caregivers share photos of their children and teens because…, What is sharenting?, Stacey Steinberg: I define sharenting as what parents do when they talk about their children outside the family circle: A post on social media with a picture, a blog post about their child, a video through a messaging platform like WhatsApp, etc.  “When we share things about our children online without involving them in that decision making…, What’s important for parents and caregivers to know when thinking about sharing content about their children online?, There are two big things to think about when it comes to sharing content about our children.  The first is the actual tangible harm that kids can experience when parents share online. For example, there are adults who may want to interact with or harm someone’s children because of content they have seen online. In some countries, there are also…, How do children feel about sharenting?, No matter how old we are, we all like to have autonomy. We all value our individual images, whether we're four or five years old and we want to wear the pink dress and not the purple dress, or whether we’re 12 or 13 years old and we want to be seen holding grandma's hand, or we don't want to be seen holding grandma's hand. These might seem like…, How can parents protect their children’s privacy in a digital world?, What parents can do is avoid sharing overly personal information about their kids like embarrassing stories or embarrassing pictures, even if they may find them funny. It’s important to try to see your child’s perspective. Parents should also not share pictures of their children in any state of undress because unfortunately, there are bad actors…, How can parents go about asking others not to post pictures of their children?, Have honest conversations with your friends and extended family about your sharing preferences, but remember that sharing information about children on social media is a relatively new occurrence and not everyone has given the issue equal attention. Approach these talks with the assumption that more communication, not less, will help you have your…, How can parents and caregivers safely share photos and videos of their children?, Sharing can never be 100 per cent safe. It’s always going to be a matter of balancing the risks and what parents perceive as the benefits. For families who do plan to share about their children online, it’s important to consider the audience they are sharing with (what are your privacy settings on your social media profiles, how well do you know…, What can you do if you have already posted a lot about your children and are having second thoughts?, Take a deep breath! Most parents don’t overshare because they’re trying to be malicious. Often, when parents overshare, they don’t appreciate the importance of their child’s digital footprint. If a parent is rethinking how they share and how much they share, a good first step is to start looking at what was shared in the past and perhaps deleting…
02 April 2024

How to prepare for a hurricane or typhoon

Cyclones bring destruction, fear and uncertainty. Follow our tips to help your family stay safe and be prepared. Arrow Jump to: Facts about cyclones How to prepare What to do during a cyclone What to do after a cyclone Comforting your children  , Facts about cyclones, What is the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?, Hurricanes and typhoons are both terms for tropical cyclones. The only difference between them is location., What is a cyclone?, A cyclone is an extreme weather event that takes place when winds rotate inwards to low atmospheric pressure over warm waters., What is a hurricane?, A hurricane is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Atlantic Ocean with sustained winds of at least 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour., What is a typhoon?, A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that forms in the Pacific Ocean with sustained winds of at least 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour., How to prepare for a tropical cyclone, In Izabal, Guatemala, during the response to Julia Tropical Storm, people from the Cacao Frontera community are receiving their food supply. Talk to your family about cyclones If you live in an area at risk, explain to your child in an age-appropriate way what these storms are like and how you will do everything you can to keep them safe. Ready…, What to do during a cyclone, In Anketa, Tulear, Atsimo Andrefana region, the whole neighborhood is still submerged in water left by Hurricane Freddy. Listen to local authorities Check your local news or radio station for weather updates and official advice. If you are advised to evacuate, grab your emergency kit and ID papers and do so immediately. If you have not been…, What to do after a cyclone, The climate-resilient solar water pump system ensures adequate water supply and improve proper sanitation and hygiene practices of students and the community following the destruction of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte, Philippines. Continue to stay informed Before going outside or returning home, wait for the “all clear” from local authorities to…, Comforting your children after a cyclone, On 7 September 2019, in Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, Bahamas. In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Shirley Benemé and her daughter Guyana, 1, have been relocated to a Government Facility that serves as a shelter for families affected by the storm. Start the conversation and keep it open Make sure you provide your child with opportunities to talk…
08 March 2024

Burns, scalds and fire-related injuries

Burns and scalds are painful and severe ones can result in permanent disability. They often happen at home, and young children are particularly at risk because their skin is thinner than adult skin. The good news is that children can be protected from these injuries by making some simple changes in your home. Jump to: Burns and scalds facts Safety…, Children and burns, Children suffer burns most often when near open fire for warmth, playing with matches, candles, sparklers, fireworks or inserting items into electrical outlets., Children and scalds, Scalds happen when children come into contact with hot liquids, such as when tea or coffee falls on them or the bath/tap water is too hot. Scalds can also be caused by moist heat and hot vapours such as steam. Did you know?  More than 90% of burns and scalds happen in the kitchen to children under 5 years old., Safety checklist, Take these steps to help protect your child from burns and scalds. Never leave hot cups or pots of tea, water, or other hot liquids where your child can reach them. Make sure to store lighters and matches well out of your child’s reach and ensure they are put away after use. Get rid of non-child resistant lighters and only buy and use new lighters…, Protection using smoke alarms, Install smoke alarms in the home on every level, ideally near all sleeping areas. Purchase smoke alarms which also test carbon monoxide levels and change smoke alarm batteries on a specific day every year, so that it is not forgotten. Test the batteries regularly by pressing down on and holding the test button on the alarm., Kitchen safety, The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places in the home for burns and scalds. Children under 5 years are especially at risk as they start to explore and assert their independence by trying new things without their parents. Keep these safety tips in mind to help keep your children safe in the kitchen: Use the rear burners on the stove when…, What to do in a fire emergency, If a fire starts in the home: DO ✅ Get everyone out as quickly as possible. ✅ Always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered. ✅ Stay well away from the burning building. ✅ Have one person call the fire rescue services. DON’T ❌ Remain inside a burning building. ❌ Stand up in a fire.  ❌ Go back into a burning building for any…, Teach children how to prevent and respond to a fire, Teach your child how to “drop and roll” to put out a fire on clothing. Discuss a plan for escaping your home in the event of a fire. Explain that it is safest to crawl or run below levels of smoke, so they can breathe and see more easily. Teach your child that in the event of a fire, they should test a door for heat before opening it. If the door…, Preventing tap water scalds, Tap water scald injuries are the second most common cause of serious burn injuries for children of all ages. Here are some ways you can help prevent them: Teach your child to first turn on the cold water, then add the hot water slowly and to turn off the hot water first. Ensure that your water heater is set no higher than 50°C/ 122°F maximum. If…, First aid for burns and scalds, If you or a family member has a burn or scald, follow these steps on how to treat it. Taking a basic first aid course is highly recommended and can help you be prepared for dealing with such emergencies. Reduce the heat of a burned or scalded area by immersing the affected spot in cold water, or by holding it under gentle cold running tap water…
31 January 2024

Road safety tips

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death in children and adolescents aged 5-19 years worldwide. Tragically, many of these deaths were preventable. Here are some ways your family can stay safe while out and about. Jump to: Tips for younger children Tips for teens Tips for children with disabilities Crossing the road safely Take action…, Road safety tips for younger children, It’s never too early to start teaching your children about road safety. Here are some road rules to help little ones keep safety top of mind. 1. Traffic is dangerous Explain to your little one that while cars on the road may be fun to look at, it’s important to keep a safe distance. Try taking your child outside and talking to them about it while…, Be a smart cycler, Teach your children to ride their bicycle with traffic, use appropriate hand signals, wear a well-fitting helmet, use bicycle lanes where available, and ensure that their bicycle has working brakes, a reflector and a light. Houda Al-Malik, 26, and her brother Sajad Al-Faraji, 16, leave school in Vienna's 13th district, in Austria., Road safety tips for teens, Teens are driven to seek more thrills than children and adults. While this is a natural part of their development, it can lead to more dangerous risk taking. Talk to your teen about these safety tips to help them make smart choices when you are not around to supervise. 1. Be alert and watch out for hazards As tempting as it may be to look at a…, Road safety tips for children with disabilities, You know your child and their environment best. As you teach your child about road safety, consider any additional needs they might have. For example:  Children with hearing impairments may not hear the noise of traffic – horns, cars, motorbikes etc – so teach them to watch for traffic very carefully.  Children with autism, behavioural and…, How to cross the road safely in 5 steps, 1. Find a safe place to cross Make sure you can see in all directions and that drivers can see you, too. If there is a designated crossing area, use it and explain to your child how they work. 2. Stop Leave a safe amount of distance between yourself and the road. 3. Look both ways Make sure to take your time looking around for any oncoming traffic…, Take action for road safety, By speaking to your local officials, your child's school and community groups about road safety you can raise awareness about effective measures that help reduce injuries and save lives. These include:   Enact and enforce legislation to keep urban traffic speeds on residential streets and on school routes where traffic and children come into…
29 November 2023

3 ways to help motivate your teen

Is your teen struggling with motivation? Dr. Lisa Damour, psychologist, mother and best-selling author, shares three ways you can help your teen feel motivated. Watch the video or read the tips below, 3 ways to help motivate your teen, Just like everybody else, at times, teens have to do things that they're not in the mood for. When this happens, there are three ways adults can help teens to feel motivated., 1. Offer choices, It's nice to have options. Research shows that teenagers are more likely to feel motivated when they are given options for how to tackle the work at hand. For example, be open to your teen's ideas about how to solve problems, complete tasks or practice new skills. And, when possible, be flexible about when and where teens do the things we ask of…, 2. Praise effort, Cheer your teenager on. Done right, praising teenagers can help them to feel motivated. Our praise should be sincere. And it should celebrate effort, not talent. For example, saying, “I see how hard you worked”, or “I see how much care you put into this”, or “I'm impressed by your stamina,” will build more motivation than saying, “Wow, you're…, 3. Get creative with rewards, Get creative with rewards because everybody needs encouragement. Just as adults don't enjoy every item on our to-do list, teens sometimes struggle to get going on the things that they need to do. At these times, consider the value of a creative reward. You might suggest that your teenager take enjoyable 5 minute breaks between 25 minute periods of…
24 November 2023

How to talk to your children about hate speech

Hate speech has a long history, but the growth of online communications means that it can now spread far and fast. Whether in person or online, almost all children and young people will encounter hate speech at some time. As a parent, it’s important to talk to your child about hate speech, to help them recognize it and know what to do when they…, Hate speech facts, What is hate speech?, Hate speech can be described as any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour that attacks or discriminates against a person or group’s identity, such as religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, disability, age, gender or sexual orientation. Hate speech can also include other “identity factors”, like language, economic…, How are children affected by hate speech?, Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to hate speech, both online and in person. When children hear or read hate speech aimed at them directly or a part of their identity – such as their race, colour or gender – it can make them feel like there is something different or wrong about them. This can impact their self-esteem and can…, Hate speech vs free speech, Freedom of expression is a human right and tackling hate speech protects this right. It’s possible to disagree with or criticize an individual or group without threatening their well-being and safety. Hate speech limits freedom of expression as those targeted by hateful language do not feel safe expressing themselves freely., What is trolling?, “Trolling” is when someone posts or comments online to provoke a reaction from others. Trolling aims to disrupt, get attention and cause distress. It becomes hate speech when the actions promote hatred and discrimination against a person or group’s identity, such as their gender, race or sexual orientation. People involved in trolling will often…, How to talk to your children about hate speech, Conversations about issues like hate, racism, sexism and xenophobia can be uncomfortable for many parents. But it is important to try to create a safe space for your child to be able to speak to you and share anything that is on their mind.  Conversations will look different for every family, but remember: You know your child best. Use age-…, 1. Educating your child about hate speech, Explain to your child that everyone has a right to be safe in society and treated with dignity and respect. Hate speech is always wrong and it’s on all of us to reject it. Explore together what hate speech is, so your child can identify it, whether it happens to them or someone else. Here are some questions you can explore together: What do you…, 2. Hate speech online, The Internet and social media enable us to connect with friends and family, pursue interests and be part of communities. Sadly, the same digital tools and platforms can also enable hateful content to be created easily, often anonymously, and shared widely fast. Hate speech has the potential to spread online to a global audience and can resurface…, 3. Talk openly and frequently to your children, The more you talk to your children about topics like hate speech, racism and xenophobia, the more comfortable they will be to come to you if they experience it. Find opportunities to talk about these topics in your daily routine. For example, if something relevant comes up on TV, you could ask your child what they know about the topic and what…, 4. Stand against hate speech, Remember that you are the example that your child follows and be mindful of your own words and actions, including online. Take every opportunity to reject hate speech and stand up for every person's right to be treated with dignity and respect. Explain to your child that if we witness hate speech, we can show support to the person or people…, 5. Embrace diversity, Explain to your child that we aren’t all the same and that is a good thing. The world would be a very boring place if everyone was the same. Encouraging openness and curiosity can help children to notice differences and appreciate them. It fosters conversation, understanding and empathy with people who are different from them. > Read: Talking…, What should I do if my child experiences hate speech?, All children have the right to protection from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse. Any incidents of hate speech need to be taken very seriously. Depending on the situation, you may need to report it to your child’s school, to the platform it happened on or to the police.  , Listen and reassure, If your child has experienced hate speech, the first step is to give them time to explain what happened. Listen carefully and tell them that you are glad they came to you. Focus on making them feel heard and supported. Your child is more likely to open up to you if you stay calm about what you hear. Be clear that hate speech is wrong and that your…, Hate speech at your child’s school, If the hate speech was from a student at your child’s school, record the evidence if possible and report it to the school. Discuss with the school authorities how they will protect your child’s right to be safe, as well as what consequences there will be for the sender of the hate speech. Discipline should always be immediate, non-violent and…, Hate speech from someone outside your child’s school, If the hate speech is from someone outside your child’s school, document any evidence and consider reporting it to the police. Don’t hesitate to speak to the police if you have any concerns for your child’s safety.  , Hate speech online, Record the evidence and report it to the social media platform. Check what tools are available on the platform/s to block or restrict the sender. Here are reporting and safety resources for many popular platforms: Facebook Instagram Kik Snapchat TikTok Tumblr WeChat WhatsApp X (formerly Twitter) YouTube  
03 November 2023

How to recognize signs of distress in children

Children have different reactions to adverse events in their environment. Culture influences the ways in which we express emotions. In some cultures, for example, it is not appropriate to show strong emotions like crying loudly, while in others it is widely accepted.  Some signs of distress may not be so obvious. Here are some of the signs of…, Common reactions to stress in children, Many of these reactions only last for a short time, and are normal reactions to stressful events. If these reactions last for a prolonged period of time, the child may need specialist support.   Age Reaction 0-3 years Clinging to their caregivers more than normal Regressing to former (younger) behaviours Changes in sleeping and eating patterns…, Emotional check-ins, To check-in emotionally is to ask children “how they are” in a direct or indirect way. One check-in method is to ask your child to draw or paint a picture. Ask them to tell you more about the picture, what they have drawn, or why they used a specific colour, for example. This may help some children talk about how they feel, whereas other children…, Activities to reduce stress and support your child’s well-being, These activities can be done with your child to help reduce stress and provide them with positive coping strategies that support their well-being. These activities are also beneficial for you and can be done with your child together.  Belly breathing Often when we are stressed our breathing becomes shallow, high in our chests, and we forget to…