Get creative with technology this summer

23 Aug 2016 UK SIC

As the summer holiday draws to an end, why not harness children’s passion for technology to do something fun and creative with your family? The team at Childnet, partners in the UK Safer Internet Day, share their ideas and inspiration. 

When we talk to parents about children’s technology, we always start with the hugely positive ways young people are using technology for fun, learning, creativity and communication.

In our e-safety leaflet for parents and carers, our key conversation starters begin and end on a positive:

  • Ask your children to tell you about the websites and apps they like to use and what they enjoy doing online.
  • Think about how you each use the internet. What more could you do to use the internet together? Are there activities that you could enjoy as a family?

Using technology together as a family can provide plenty of opportunities to talk about any concerns and ensure they know what to do – while also reinforcing that you are there to help if they are ever worried about anything.

So this summer holiday, why not think about how you can use technology together as a family?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Create: why not create a family blog or photo diary to keep a record of what you have been up to this summer; or create a film, whether a documentary or a re-telling of your favourite story.
  • Play: learn how to play a new game, find out what your children like about their favourite games, or you could even have an online games night or tournament.  
  • Explore: you can find lots of interesting things to learn online; perhaps you could research something your children are interested in, create a quiz, learn a new skill from a YouTube video, or use maps and online research to plan an adventure (near or far!)

Beginning on a positive note when we speak to children about technology can provide a great starting point to enable you to have those trickier conversations about issues such as cyberbullying, sexting and pornography (see our Hot Topics for advice about how to approach these issues).

To help you drop in those safety messages, here are a couple of ideas about how you can start to talk about key online issues:

  • While looking at content with public comments (eg a YouTube video or news article), ask what they would do if they saw a mean comment? Make sure they know they can report content, block people and that they can always talk to you. You could follow up by asking if they think people in their school are ever mean to each other online, and hearing what they think about this and what they would do.
  • While posting photos and videos online you could discuss together whether it is suitable to be shared online and with who. This is a great chance to share how you make decisions about what is appropriate, and also to make sure they know about privacy settings. You could prompt them to think about certain types of content and see whether they think that would be okay to post online – for example a picture of their dog, an embarrassing photo of a friend or a photo of them in their school uniform.

For more conversation starter ideas and information about key issues online, see our e-safety advice for parents and carers.

Whatever you get up to this summer, we hope you have fun making the most of technology! 

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