How To Keep Your Child Safe On Internet
The world that children grow up in today is somewhat different to the world us adults grew up in. It comes with all sorts of issues, and the biggest being social media and the easy accessibility of the internet. The internet is available almost everywhere and you will often see children at tables on night out with tablets or phones, or the first thing they will want to know is does the restaurant have internet. Parents will give in and allow this because, let’s face it, it is sometimes the easier option.
Children would probably teach us a thing or two about the internet but I think it is particularly important for parents to be better equipped in dealing with internet.
You can install software to most or all mobiles, laptops, games or consoles as well as the home broadband. They will be used to help block or filter the content your child sees when searching online. Parental controls can help you plan what time of day your child can go online and for how long. They can also stop your children from downloading apps they are too young for. Finally, they can help you manage the content different members of the family can see.
Setting up parental controls
- Mobiles and tablets
Going into settings and ensuring the location setting is off, within settings you can check information that your child is sharing with others. Going to your network provider to gain more information in relation to protective measures, for your child. Talk to your child about this.
- Home broadband
Your internet provider may offer a free filter, which you will be able to control the content that you and your family see. This will need to be manually set up. Take advice from your provider to see how this works, or buy in some controls.
- Game consoles
Most of these are internet enabled, meaning your child can go online and chat with other players. The controls will help you manage what your child can do and can not do, limiting the chat mode to only friends would be helpful.
- Talking to your child about staying safe online
Talking to your child openly and regularly about the internet and keeping safe is the most important thing.
Opening a family discussion to set boundaries about where they access the internet and what they view or what apps they are on will help you understand some of your children’s interests. Take the time to explore the sites and games in which your children are on with them and you will be able to suggest better ways to keep them safe. Be honest about the dangers of the internet, tell your children what is illegal and legal and appropriate and inappropriate to have on the internet. Explain the importance of keeping online games private within their group of friends and reassure them that they can speak to you about anything.
Do not be shy in using age appropriate language in relation to sharing/viewing pictures, porn sites and the risks of spending to much time online.
Help them know how to report anything which is upsetting on the site/app/game they are playing. Remember bullying happens online, now children can not escape bullying, it is 24/7 through the internet.
Show your children how to block people and explain that talking to strangers is not always bad but being careful about what you share is extremely important.
Set up rules that you will regularly be checking their devices, whilst it is not about invading their privacy it is about keeping them safe and looking out for them.
Restricting time spent on the internet should also be encouraged, the more time children spend on screens the more likely their social skills, friendships, mood, mental health and sleep will be affected.
Encourage family time without screens and encourage family time with screens.
Here are some websites which can help in relation to this topic:
Use your children’s school/organisations or health visitor to help gain more information and advice in relation to this topic. Schools will normally have events to help support parents in dealing with this ever-growing issue.