Posted by Aston Avery

Listen: understanding the online risks

TheInternetcan be a wonderful place foryoung people, not only does it help increase learning opportunities and build digital skills but is also great for communicating and connecting with other children. However, we are all too aware of the potential dangers of cyberbullying, the presence of ‘strangers’ and having access to offensive material.

The biggest one is that there exists profound denial of risk being present and there is an almost total lack of a proper risk assessment with the attendant risk management processes.

From a psychological perspective and from a child protection perspective the risks fall into a number of categories:

  • damage to self-image 
  • online bullying
  • exposure to inappropriate adult sexual or violent content 
  • encouragement through peer pressure to engage in risky behaviour 
  • exposure to predatory behaviours of adults

Most parents and families already have good boundaries about virtual usage and contact and establishing simple guidelines for your kids will suffice to keep them safe.

Aston spoke to psychotherapist Noel McDermott.

Photo by Glenn Carstens Peter on Unsplash

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