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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy, clear and necessary reading
If you're a child of the 1970s and 80s, with a computer knowledge centred on ZX81s and BBC Micros, it's likely you're feeling left behind as a parent as your kids forge ahead with social networking and the internet.

This book is necessary reading for modern parents as it is clear and thoughtful with a responsible tone, and I read nothing I would argue with, and...
Published on 19 Jan 2012 by Withnail67

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-intentioned
I'm not as convinced by this book as I expected to be. It's worthy and has good intentions. It's generally written to a reasonable standard and some of the ideas behind it are sound. But it's not particularly authoritative, drawing heavily on a set of EU-produced reports with little in the way of wider/original research to support the author's conclusions...
Published on 22 Mar 2012 by Seren Ade


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-intentioned, 22 Mar 2012
By 
Seren Ade (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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I'm not as convinced by this book as I expected to be. It's worthy and has good intentions. It's generally written to a reasonable standard and some of the ideas behind it are sound. But it's not particularly authoritative, drawing heavily on a set of EU-produced reports with little in the way of wider/original research to support the author's conclusions.

There's no author biography supplied with review copies, so I don't have any idea of who Pamela Whitby is or why she should be considered to have expertise on the subject of child safety online. With the exception of the series of reports whose influence is already noted, the content of the book tends towards informal surveys and the author's epistemic beliefs. Which at times can take on a rather dogmatic tone.

Although the book has structure, the topics under discussion aren't always handled in a particularly methodical fashion. I found the lack of age differentiation in 'children' problematic. Whilst anyone under the age of 18 IS a child, there are some quite different issues involved over the spectrum (although these are, naturally, gradient) - but this gets little recognition.

My other concern is that this book presents the subject in a way that is slanted a little towards scaremongering. Yes, the issues that are discussed are relevant and real but, to present a balanced account, it would be nice to see some recognition of the fact that there are also harmless intellectual and entertainment activities for which children can and do use internet access.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy, clear and necessary reading, 19 Jan 2012
By 
Withnail67 (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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If you're a child of the 1970s and 80s, with a computer knowledge centred on ZX81s and BBC Micros, it's likely you're feeling left behind as a parent as your kids forge ahead with social networking and the internet.

This book is necessary reading for modern parents as it is clear and thoughtful with a responsible tone, and I read nothing I would argue with, and much I agree with.

Where I would go further than this book is in ways to implement its suggestions with your kids. There are suggestions, but you might like to supplement your reading with the CEOP website.

Worth the money, but not the last word.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars are they safe? no. can they be safer? yes, 9 Feb 2012
By 
the lambanana "the lambanana" (liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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The book aims to inform parents about what their children will encounter online.

As everyone is aware, there are some parts of the internet that are aimed at adults and many don't want their children exposed to the adult areas.

Then there are the areas that are harmless enough but have a potential for 'misuse'.

Practical suggestions of making sure that the parental controls are enabled on your child's smartphone.

Understanding websites like chatroulette and stickam.

Essentially being aware that kids will want to find a way around accessing things they shouldn't and encouraging talking to the kids about the internet.

Overall it is food for thought and can leave you a little more worried than you were before.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is your child safe on line- an intro for parents, 4 Nov 2011
By 
Sue H "Sunshine Suzzy" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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I think this is a very helpful introduction for parents who are not technology experts, or `digital immigrants' as the book describes them vs `digital natives' to describe the generation which has grown up with sophisticated electronic systems.

The author Pamela Whitby is a parent and has researched child safety on line very thoroughly. The book is written in short sections with statistical facts, quotes from experts, parents and children. The risk of online activities is put into perspective for example, predatory behaviour is a big parent worry, but is relatively rare, getting hit by a bus is more likely.

The book is in 4 parts.

Part 1 covers briefly the risks and myths, external threats from predators, the risks arising from the children themselves e.g children presenting themselves as older than they are. Commercial and health risks such as over use of technology leading to behavioural problems and electronic/gaming addiction, and cyber bullying where an electronic medium is deliberately used to bully an individual and how this can be done via texting, internet web sites and social media platforms.

Part 2 covers general safety guidelines. For example what parental controls can be applied in search engines, black lists which exclude only listed sites, and white lists where only included sites can be accessed. What schools should be doing and most importantly how to communicate with your child and what boundaries you set them depending upon their age and the media being accessed.

Part 3 looks in more depth at what children access on line, e.g. Facebook, online gaming, instant messaging, email, webcams, search engines, iTunes, and YouTube, online sharing, smart phones and tablets. There are 7 pages covering Facebook, very helpful for parents who are not users. It gives an overview of what Facebook can do, and the pitfalls, for example advertising is age specific and if children lie about their age they may receive in appropriate material. Privacy settings can be set to ensure the whole world does not see you page but only known friends. The book does not give step by step instructions on how to set up privacy settings however I found relatively easily that there are YouTube videos by users which parents may find helpful to set privacy settings.

Part 4 examines briefly the future and what might be done.

What it is not
The book is a brief introduction ~170 pages at less than A5. It can't cover every aspect in detail, partly as there are some many media devices and systems. For example it is recommended to keep a copy of texts where bullying is concerned which is commonsense, but not guidance on how that might be done, can texts be downloaded to a pc or does one photograph the message on the screen? The book suggests to get the help of some tecchies, teenages if you have access to them, if not prepare to spend time working out how any piece of equipment functions, or software functions.

N.B.The book reviewed is an uncorrected proof copy and the book may be amended in final production.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful, 15 Nov 2011
This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
As someone having to come to terms with the fact that my daughters are growing up in a very different world from the one of my childhood, I found this book very helpful. It is an excellent beginners guide - informative, explaining different aspects of the internet simply and clearly and giving good, practical advice. It also looks at many of the dilemmas that face parents today - such as pros and cons of a smart phone and whether to let your child play online. It does not stand in judgement but offers a range of case studies that I am finding very helpful when making decisions. The childrens' voices are particularly illuminating.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Important reading for all parents, 14 May 2013
By 
Ray Blake (Hemel Hempstead, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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Although fairly technically adept myself, I know that my kids are more proficient on line than I am. SO it is useful to have a source of information that helps me understand what is possible, what is likely and what I can do to help mitigate risk.

I suppose a concern is how quickly the advice here will age. Since I received it, Facebook has overhauled its privacy rules and processes at least once, for instance. I would also have welcomed more differentiation between children of different ages. There is a world of difference between primary and secondary school aged kids.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Concise, well constructed guide, 18 Jan 2013
By 
L. Green "Feltano" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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Although it's fair to say a lot of what's contained in this book comes down to common sense, it's good to see it compiled here in an accessible, digestible manner. Many online advice pages cover the same ground, but without the clarity or organisation you really want from a reference book like this - would make for a good study guide for teachers and learning assistants looking to help convey many of these lessons to their class.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Limited Shelf life, 3 Jan 2013
By 
Dave (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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From the perspective of a relatively tech savvy granddad I wasn't expecting too much in this book that I didn't already know, but was happily proved wrong. The book provided me with new insights into this challenging area. While a lot of the information can be found elsewhere (appropriately enough online), there is an advantage of having the information in detail, in a logical order, all in one place.

The book itself is pretty comprehensive. It covers the more widely known dangers, but also some of the less well documented ones such as children misusing parents credit cards. It also covers different devices (e.g. smart phones) not just 'computers'. Thankfully it also covers the most important element of this challenging area, the need for open and honest conversations with your children; and the need to ensure the 'approach' you take as a parent includes mutual trust.

The book does have a limited shelf life. The introduction of new technologies and new social media avenues means the book will quickly be out of date. This is mitigated to some extent by covering general concepts, not just the specific technologies and platforms. However, the book will need to be continually updated to remain relevant.

In books of this type there is a balance to be had between informing/empowering parents and terrifying them. The book accepts the reality that social media is an integral part of our children's social life, and does well to get the balance right. The style is good; it's not a heavy read and most people will find it accessible, regardless of their technical credentials

Overall I'd recommend this book to parents wanting to get clued up in this area, but only for the next year or two.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sound advice but it's not rocket science, 20 Nov 2012
By 
Pardo (Kent) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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This is a very sensible book - it is not a Daily Mail - "the internet is turning all our kids into sex addicts" rant. This is a perfectly sound book that provides a lot of very sensible advice, however, most of it is not rocket science. It is also, probably of more help to parents of younger children than older one - after all, unless you work in IT you'll have to fact the fact that your kids will probably be more tech savvy than you by the time they're teenagers, if not before. So, if they want to hide their internet activity from you they will.

The other thing is that a lot of the grief that our kids will go through thanks to the internet will be outside your or their control - my daughter is nine and yet she has friends in her class whose parents have allowed them to have smart phones and facebook accounts already - but who also haven't had sensible conversations with their kids about sex because they find it too embarrassing. Even if you and your child take a sensible attitude to the web, and the wider world, there are always idiots out there who let their kids do whatever they like but don't spend time building a sensible relationship with their kids. Rant over.

The only sensible approach to this is to be as tech aware as you can, but to hope that you have been ale to build a relationship with your kids that means that they will trust you and talk to you when they have a problem, and that that will last through the surging "it's so unfair" hormone induced self pity and peer pressure that they're going to go through. This book makes those points, and provides a lot of sensible advice and some reassurance but I fear that in the end it does come down to luck and your kid's friends's as much as you and your kid.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps a good starting point in print form... if you need one..., 23 Oct 2012
By 
bomble "bomble" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Is your child safe online?: A parent's guide to the internet, Facebook, mobile phones & other new media (Paperback)
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I consider myself to be both computer literate and not too far behind the curve of what's going on in cyberspace. But I will happily admit that I haven't been particularly proactive in ensuring that my child's access to the internet is managed safely. She's only just beginning to get online (pre-school sites under my supervision), so this is the moment at which I felt it appropriate to inform myself. Unfortunately, this book isn't written for my needs. It's a fairly flimsy approach to the subject by someone whose expertise (before she set about writing this at least) was less than my own. Her approach to information gathering is anecdotal and, though well intentioned, just made me feel that her findings were fairly superficial. I passed this book onto my wife who would also freely admit that she's much less well informed about information technology and social media than I am but she also found it all fairly obvious. If you are computer literate enough to be able to be of any help to your child in navigating the perils of the web, then you'll probably be able to find fresher and more pertinent information on the web itself.

While the book doesn't cost all that much and is very short, the key element here is time. Is your valuable time best spent reading this or searching on the web for good advice? Personally I'd recommend skipping this and getting on with doing your own research. If you're sufficiently technophobic to be in the target readership for this book, then you'll do yourself as much good by getting more familiar with the web as anything else! But to be forewarned is to be forearmed so if this book helps you to see the dangers then maybe it served its purpose.
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