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Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Five Tips for Creating a Safe Space to Discuss Online Activities with Kids


Could you imagine existing without internet?


Its introduction to society changed the game of life to such a great extent, that it is hard to practically envision such an imagery, once existed. With the progression of time, the internet revolutionized to fit current needs. Its fluidity allows us to use it as a communication medium, a personalized fact checker, a shopping center and even as an entertainment provider. The list of possibilities are endless and with the few mentioned thus far, it’s not shaping up to be a bad list.

However, Dangers. Still. Exist.

Cyberbullying, phishing and clickbait schemes and interactions with cyber predators are just a few examples of common dangers, with mostly children and teenagers being victims when exposed. This could be worrisome especially amongst parents, as they seek to find an effective approach to address such dangers with their young ones. Taking this into consideration, what other way to celebrate Safer Internet Day than being of service to such a problem?

On this day, we celebrate by raising awareness of arising and current online concerns as well as provide insight on the steps everyone should take to achieve online safety. With the theme for this year being ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online,’ the CyberSafeTT team is offering five tips to parents on how a safe space could be created to facilitate a conversation with the younger members in the household about their online presence.

1. Set the Environment

To have an effective conversation, a safe space must be created.  Neutral and comfortable spaces to facilitate such platform should be free of distractions with face to face communication being highly encouraged.

2. Ask the Necessary Questions to Provide the Relevant Answers.

When discussing your child or teen’s online presence, it is your responsibility to ask relevant questions. These questions should assist in revealing the apps and additional online platforms your child or teen interacts with on a daily basis. Additionally, the information gathered would guide the answers you provide, to effectively cater to their concerns.

3. Ensure that Listening is the Main Priority

In an attempt to provide a level of comfort and support throughout the conversation, ensure that you engage in active listening.  This would allow you to stay focused on the conversation while your child or teen properly vent and share their feelings. This also ushers in a sense of greater clarity, which contributes to the next point mentioned below.

4. Respond with Empathy, not Anger

Set the tone for the conversation by responding in a calm and supportive manner. Using emotional language and taking a judgmental approach based on what was shared or on your ideology may result in your child or teen becoming uncomfortable in sharing any information about their online presence.

5. Work Together to Develop Solutions

With all the information obtained, the appropriate solutions should be developed within the family unit. These solutions should lead to the development of an agreement which should be followed by all members within the family to reduce any case of danger when navigating through online platforms on a daily basis.

We hope that these five tips are beneficial to you and your family, as you navigate throughout your conversations about life online with the younger ones in your household. Happy Safer Internet Day!