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As a mother of two young boys, for the last few years I have been passionate about helping parents keep their children safe, healthy and balanced online. This passion has led to years of researching the best information available on this topic from experts all around the world. The result has seen:

 

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There’s no denying that children of all ages need help and guidance to promote their safety online. They may be tech-savvy enough to navigate their way around better than their parents from a young age, but that doesn’t mean they have the emotional intelligence or the life skills required to be safe and happy online. And most parents are simply not aware of what their children are really doing online.

Whether I talk with parents or students, their eyes are definitely opened up and their awareness grows significantly after attending one of my talks. This is my primary aim, to educate in a thought-provoking way which encourages further conversations well after I leave. Parents who are otherwise busy commonly stay back for a considerable time after my presentation mulling over what’s been said in light of their personal situation with their child.

 

Talks With Students

I often assess the success of my talks with students based on how often you can hear a pin drop in the room. Based on that criteria, students are definitely engaged with the content as it is age-appropriate and very relevant to what they’re actually seeing and doing online.

 

Primary Schools

 

Public speaker online safetyI love speaking with students in primary schools as I believe this is the perfect time to educate them on cyber bullying, social media and cyber safety in general. Students at this age (particularly in years 4-6) are already using social media, have all seen instances of cyber bullying, and some have already engaged in sexting. Many of them also have a mobile phone. Talking with them sooner than later can encourage the prevention of disaster striking as opposed to a cure, which is always the far better option.

 

When talking to primary school students I ensure that the presentation is:

  • Interesting
  • Interactive
  • Informative (rather than using scare tactics)
  • Engaging
  • Age-appropriate

The aim in talking with primary students is to talk with them on their level, to help them understand how the online world really works and how they can be resilient to the inherent risks they’ll be faced with online. Rather than talking “at them” and telling them what not to do (a sure sign to get them to switch off!), it’s more about helping them see the possible consequences of online activities for themselves. Hopefully then they can make the right choices for themselves based not on fear of getting into trouble, but on their own sense of right and wrong.

Students ALWAYS leave knowing more than when they arrived even though many of them don’t expect to! And teacher feedback is generally along the lines of “Very relevant, exactly what they needed to know“.

Talks for primary school students can be based specifically on cyber bullying or more generally on cyber safety. Alternatively if you’d like me to focus more on another area of cyber safety (for example privacy, inappropriate content, managing screen time etc) just let me know. Presentations in primary schools generally work best when students are split from K-3 and years 4-6 or thereabouts. 

For more information on doing a talk at your primary school or to book it in, please contact me here or email me (Ruth) at admin@childrenandtechnology.com

 

High Schools

 

Public speaker cyber safetyThe content and presentation of talks with students in high school is of course very different to those in primary school. By high school, students are much more involved in their online world – and as such there’s no holding back!

As with primary school presentations, high school presentations are also interesting, informative (rather than designed to scare or intimidate), interactive, engaging and age-appropriate. And they’re also designed to help the students make the right decisions for themselves based on their internal beliefs and moral values. But that’s about where the similarity ends.

In high schools I talk with students about the topics no-one else wants to talk about such as porn and sexting. These students are most at risk, with the majority of porn being viewed by 12-17 year-olds. While it’s ideal to talk with students in year 7 about these topics (again based on the theory that prevention is better than a cure), my talk is perfectly catered to the Crossroads program required in PDHPE for year 11 students.

An emphasis when talking to older high schools students is on how they can use their activities online to best prepare them for the workforce. Their digital footprint will either work for them or against them, and now is the time to show them how their online behaviour can help them succeed in work and life.

To find out more about talking at your high school or to book it in, please contact me here or email me (Ruth) at admin@childrenandtechnology.com

 

 

Talks With Parents

 

public speaker online safetyAlthough it’s always a challenge to get parents to put aside time to attend a talk about cyber safety, those who attend my parent presentations learn a lot and are always very glad they came. The vast majority also wish to stay in touch for more help in future. 

Parents relate well with me because I am no different to them – I’m a mum with children the same age as theirs who has had challenges with her son spending too much time online. The difference is that I’ve found some great ways to successfully navigate through this issue (without the use of any apps!), and I’ve spent the time they don’t have to find out what they need to know. I love helping other parents save time and successfully negotiate the online safety challenge they face with their children. 

Here are some typical comments I receive from parents:

Good information and helpful ideas on positive steps to help/maintain child/parent relationship while dealing with issues” – Libby

Quite informative and helpful. Eye opening with the statistics” – Melanie

Learnt about the importance of communicating and monitoring without being creepy” – Vivi

Very informative for the basics, great to know there is somewhere to get more information” – Nicole

Some really good things to think about in connecting better with my son – it’s more than just how to use tech. Thank you!” – Eira

Loved it! Easy to follow and very informative. Would really like to read the book” – Rachael

If you would like me to talk with parents on this topic I’d love to hear from you. Please contact me here or email me (Ruth) at admin@childrenandtechnology.com

 

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