Telstra recently launched a Telstra Safe Social TM feature for Telstra customers. It is quite an involved process to initiate, but could be a great tool for parents to monitor and control their children’s’ social networking habits. Telstra maintains that
“The best thing about the tool is that it can help make it easy for parents to start a conversation with their kids about who they are chatting with online and stay aware of potentially risky situations.” (http://exchange.telstra.com.au/?p=19195)
After selecting the applicable social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube, parents can Manage Protection Levels and Monitor Social Activity. Coupled with the implementation of a Parental Control Bar, proactive and vigilant parents can successfully ensure that their children have firm but fair boundaries within which they can practise social networking. One great feature is that it works across all devices, including smart phones and tablets.
Telstra also offers some advice for parents to help protect them in an online world:
- Understand the sites and technology your kids use and know who they’re talking to.
- Create a list of online ‘rules’ with the family e.g. time limits, list of OK sites to visit.
- Educate your kids so they know not to give out personal details online without parental knowledge.
- Make sure your kids know what to do and where to go if they encounter cyber-bullying.
- Regularly sit with your kids when they are on the internet. Let them know you are interested and keen to understand their online activity.
- Advise your kids to take extreme caution and keep online friendships online, and to never agree to meet their ‘online’ friends without parental supervision.
- Talk with your family about the risks of internet use, particularly in chat rooms.
- Reinforce positive behaviour and values, such as being respectful of others.
- Don’t ignore new technologies – kids and teens will use them, if not at home then at their friends’ houses or in the schoolyard. Ask your child to give you a lesson on sites or internet gadgets you may not be familiar with.
- Install software or subscribe to services that can filter content and block offensive websites.
Do you endorse the Safe Social Feature? Please participate in the poll if you are a student or a parent / teacher.