Fifty Key Messages – Tips for your child on the internet

(From Tusla’s parenting24seven website)

You can help your child get the benefits of using the internet while avoiding some of the risks. Here are some guidelines for keeping your child safe on the internet:

Be informed and ‘net-savvy’

The best safeguard against online dangers is being informed and familiar with the internet. Often children know more about new technology than adults so it’s important you know your way around the internet and then you can help children protect themselves from various internet dangers.

Supervision

Keep the computer in a busy part of the house, where the screen can always be seen. Let the children know that their activities on the computer will be supervised.

Helping Children Use Computers

Use the Internet with your child. Let them lead but stay with them until you are sure they using it appropriately. You can also check your Internet browser history to make sure they have been accessing suitable sites.

Keep an open dialogue

Keep the communication lines open and cultivate an interest in children’s online activities—their favourite Web sites, online games and interests, and discuss what they are doing. Talk to your children about the benefits and dangers of the Internet and don’t be afraid to ask who they are talking to online and what they are talking about. Tell your child always to let you know if an online ‘friend’ they don’t know in real life wants to meet them.

Agree on a game plan / rules of use

Discuss computer guidelines and rules for using the internet with the children. Post a print out of these rules near the computer as a reminder.

Possible issues to include in these guidelines are:
  • Duration of use – time allowed on the computer
  • Sites allowed to access
  • Always tell an adult if they have received scary, inappropriate or threatening messages.
  • Never share personal information on the Internet such as your name, address, telephone number, school name etc without your parents/carer’s permission. Never send pictures of your family, friends or yourself to anyone online without permission either.
  • Be aware of the potential dangers online – adults pretending to be children; business companies wanting mobile information to take money off your phone; dangerous people; spam emails that can spread a virus in your computer and access personal and banking information.
  • Do not open emails from people you don’t know.
  • Never agree to meet people that you have met online and inform parents/ guardians if people ask to meet you in person.

InternetSafety is one website that has an example of a Family Game Plan that you can use.

Protect your computer

Take advantage of the software that exists to help parents manage their children’s computer experience. In only a few minutes, parental control software such as Magic Desktop or Safe Eyes can block inappropriate websites, restrict the amount of time that your kids use the Internet, and monitor their Instant Messenger chats to protect against predators.

Mobile phones

Mobile phones can also access the Internet these days and the above rules/gameplan need to be applied if your child has access to the internet through their phone. If your child is sent inappropriate material, pictures or texts on their phone they need to let a parent/ supervising adult know. Again it is vital that the lines of communication are kept open so that you know what messages your child is sending and receiving.

FURTHER INFO

For more Key Messages check out https://www.tusla.ie/parenting-24-seven/6-12-years/

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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.

 

The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books (www.mychild.ie/books) and also on www.MyChild.ie  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.

 

In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  

 

Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  

 

In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the www.mychild.ie website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at www.mychild.ie

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from healthy.childhood@hse.ie

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