In today’s digital world, children are being exposed to the internet from a younger age than ever before. From toys that connect to the internet to games on tablets, young children are getting online. Apps, games and search engines are easily accessible to children who go online to play, connect with friends, make new ones and socialise. The internet allows for children to find out information quickly and easily, but it also comes with its dangers. Innocent searches can bring up not so innocent results. However, there are lots of things you can do to keep your children shielded and prevent them finding upsetting or inappropriate sites online, as well as educating them on how to be safe when using the internet.
Set Parental Controls
On most devices, apps and websites, parental controls can be easily set. Software and tools can be downloaded to help prevent your children accessing sites they shouldn’t and downloading apps that aren’t age appropriate. Safe search settings can also be activated on search engines and easily removed if needed.
Parental controls allow you to block and filter content that your children can see, whilst also monitoring how long your children can stay online, enabling you to set specific times they can access the internet. Whether younger children or 12-year olds, parental controls can be set differently for different members of the family. Family-friendly WIFI is also available to set up, as well as kids accounts on many popular apps and streaming services.
Talk to Your Child
With older children, one of the best things to do is talk to them about online safety. Topics could include:
- Setting boundaries and agreeing on what’s appropriate
- Going through a list of the websites / apps they use and ask what they find appropriate
- Even if their friends use an app you’re not sure of, discuss and tell them why you don’t want them using it
- Ask about things they might have seen that made them uncomfortable, what and why?
- Discuss online bullying and trolling and how it not only affects children, but adults too
- Show your child how to block and report people online to remove bad content
- Encourage your child to come and talk to you if they see anything that upsets or confuses them
A big issue with child online safety is privacy, and how to keep their details private. Even Internet Toys with voice recognition and home devices connected to the internet can gather the vocal information of even a very young child. Internet Toys have no safeguards or security standards, so it is always important to read manuals thoroughly to help make them the safest they can be.
With older children, teaching them how to keep their personal details safe and knowing what’s okay and what isn’t to share online is important. A lot of children use the internet to connect with friends and make new ones, however this isn’t without its dangers. Teaching children to always be careful when talking to strangers online and not revealing too much information about themselves, along with ensuring they never meet someone in person without coming to you first, can help protect your child from some of the darker parts of the internet.
5 Ways to Keep Gaming Safe
With children of school age, online gaming is one of the most popular hobbies of the age group. Online gaming is a common way children (especially boys) socialise. However, gaming can have some very detrimental side effects. Below are 5 ways to keep your child safe whilst gaming online:
- Check the content and age rating of the game to ensure it’s appropriate
- Make sure your child knows how to block and report other gamers if necessary
- Ensure no personal information can be viewed by other users
- Check the games safety and privacy settings before letting your child play
- Limit the amount of time your child can play – video games can be addictive, especially to young children who could be easily influenced by the violent nature of some games
As technology continues to develop, children will use the internet more often and from a younger age. The dangers will always be there, but there is a lot you can do to ensure your children gain the most of the internet and use it in a safe and secure way.