Keeping Your Children Safe Online: a guide for New Zealand parents by John Parsons, published by Potton & Burton 2017

The moment I picked up Keeping Your Children Safe Online, I knew this book was going to be flying off the bookshop shelves. I immediately thought of who’d needed it 6 months ago and who I’d be recommending it to straightaway.

John Parsons takes a very practical approach to his topic, using short real-life examples to illustrate situations such as cyber-bullying or of young people tricked into sending inappropriate images. He shows how these situations can be resolved and discusses who to turn to for help.

Keeping Your Children Safe Online isn’t heavy on technical jargon and doesn’t demand technical know-how, instead the author steers the reader gently in the right direction with some useful tips about where to find out what you need to know. The author also introduces some useful analogies, for example, talking about the internet as if its a physical place, which may be helpful for parents when they talk to their children. For a taster, check out the short videos on the publishers’ website http://www.pottonandburton.co.nz/store/keeping-your-children-safe-online

What I particularly like is that Keeping Your Children Safe Online takes “good parenting” principles and applies these to the issues of cyber safety. Reading this book is a reminder of what’s really important in parent-child relationships, with parenting tips that could be applied in any situation. The book does a pretty good job as a parenting refresher course!

I’d recommend this book to parents of children from 0-18 years old. If your child is at the younger end, then there are great tips about how to talk about values that will stand you and your child in good stead as they traverse the technology landscape. For parents of teens, there are lots of practical ideas here of how to talk to your teens about the way they use social media, as well as reminders of your children’s rights and what the law says about cyber-bullying. If your teen has already got caught up in a difficult situation, you’ll find the case studies useful as well as the agencies listed in the back.

After reading this book, I think some parents will be wondering about their own degree of cyber safety. That might be just the conversation starter you need to discuss cyber safety with your teen!