hi there I’m dr. Linda Papadopoulos
ambassador for internet matters and
given that schools are set to close
Friday and kids are gonna be home and
have a lot more screen time I thought
it’d be useful to speak to you about
maybe some top tips of how you’ll be
able to best help them navigate this
time the first one is to talk to them
about the issue there’s going to be a
lot of misinformation confusion so it’s
really important that you’re able to
kind of provide that safe space so
whether it’s over dinner or a bedtime
normalize the idea that they can come to
you and ask questions and find out more
the second one is to kind of check the
source of information they’re coming to
you with something they’ve seen right so
get them to become a bit more savvy
there’s gonna be a lot of memes you know
online or you know different sort of
messages so speech them I think this is
a great kind of yearning opportunity
about who’s supposed to get what email
address isn’t coming from her you know
what source and and get them to become a
bit more critical about the way they
interpret these things I think thirdly
and really importantly is discuss the
impact of reposting misinformation again
in some ways as scary as this is it’s
also a bit exciting so being the first
one to say well this is happening and
wanting to share that will be very
tempting so to be able to kind of speak
about you know the impact of posting
something that you’re not sure about is
really really key
um I think you know also check in with
them regularly don’t forget um I think
kids deal with anxiety in different ways
one of the best things you can do is ask
them how they’re feeling but then also
do things like keep as much consistency
and normality you know with schools
closing you know I don’t think this
should be a time where you know people
are waking up whatever time they want
not doing any work you need to kind of
have a schedule kids respond very well
to that and beyond that really
importantly we always say this the work
that we do in Internet matters you know
keep them active and moving as well so
you need a well balanced diet some
screen time but obviously within the
parameters of what you’re comfortable
with and then also very diet of other
things like eating well moving even if
that means just in your garden and
ensuring that you know that their their
mental health is well taken care of by
keeping an open discussion
We are launching our new advice guide for parents on how to protect their children from online scaremongering and fake news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.
With the high frequency of alarming news updates and fake warnings being spread across social media, it can lead to increased anxiety among children.
Parents are being encouraged to have a conversation with their kids about what they’re seeing online surrounding COVID-19 and help children to think critically to separate fact from fiction.
It comes as screentime levels among children are expected to increase amid possible school closures.
Psychologist and Internet Matters ambassador Dr Linda Papadopoulos: “Children are curious and that’s part of human nature however amid this virus, parents need to be careful about the amount of information their child is consuming and also where they’re sourcing it from.
“This is a confusing time for everybody but can be particularly anxiety-inducing for children, especially if they are seeking out information on their own, that may not be true.
“It’s vital parents are on top of this and talking to their children openly, using age-appropriate tools to protect them and checking in on their digital wellbeing regularly.”
CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting said: “With so much information coming from a range of sources, it can be hard for adults to know which ones to trust, let alone young people.
“Fake news can lead to confusion and anxiety and have a negative impact on children and young people’s wellbeing.
“It’s important parents are proactive in supporting their children and teach them how to deal with issues surrounding scaremongering and misinformation.
“The best way to stay in tune with their wellbeing is to have regular, honest and open conversations and encourage them to think critically about the information they’re consuming online.”
To help make sense of what they see online and how this can impact their lives in the real world, we’ve have produced a parental guide with five top tips to support and empower children and young people.
See more articles and resources to help children stay safe online.