7 Tips to Keep Kids Safe Online
The internet offers a wealth of education and opportunity for kids, but many parents worry about the dangerous side of the online world – namely, the opportunity for their kids to stumble across inappropriate content or unsafe websites. Or a child may unknowingly reveal private information to a stranger. These tips will resolve parents’ concerns in mind to help you keep your kids safe online.
The digital world is exciting and opens up huge educational opportunities for children but it can also be a hard place for parents to navigate. Whilst there are many apps that children use that open up opportunities for collaboration and sharing, we as parents need to know how to use and manage their online behaviour and screen time.
It’s important that we know and understands which games and platforms our children are using, and all the features that they can access. Many applications have shared and chat features so users can interact with other people as they play. Other have in-app purchases and other sharing features such as tagging. “Cripes!” You might be thinking. This is why you need to be on-the-ball to be able to avoid unsuitable content and stranger contact.
Here are some top tips to keep your kids safer online.
1) Put yourself in control
Make sure all household digital devices and desktops are password protected and don’t share passwords for iTunes or GooglePlay accounts with your children. Family Sharing gives children some freedoms and is a great way to manage family iTunes purchases. If you want to prevent your location from being tracked and protect your family on any network, the best thing to do is to get a Virtual Private Network. Given the increasing number of devices kids use to connect on the Internet, it’s difficult for parents to supervise every time they’re online. Parental control apps can help. Make use of parental controls on your home broadband and any internet-enabled devices in the home.
2) Know their Skill Level
Your children having a safe online experience starts with you having a safe online experience. Be informed about your children’s online habits by checking what they are accessing. Use screen control devices such as SecureTeen (reviewed above) to manage their account and regularly check what they do, where they go and how long they spend there. If you have a better understanding of how good your children really are with computers and technology, then you will be better able to teach them about how to be safe online.
3) Be patient and listen to your kids
Make sure you talk to your children about the importance of protecting their identity and personal information online and why they shouldn’t give this information away to strangers. Internet Matters have great advice on discussing with your children in an age-appropriate way. As challenging as might be for children to understand the risk of being online, cybersecurity awareness is vital these days. We should teach them to avoid talking to strangers online, how to distinguish between fake and real news, and explain about the most frequent security risks out there.
4) Set usage limits and time spent on the Internet
Use privacy settings and explore parental control features for your household devices. Use restrictions, lock settings and any additional privacy settings related to individual applications. Avoid the use of in-app currency and avoid apps with in-app advertising. Consider installing a good antivirus solution from a reliable company that packs a real-time scanning engine, firewall and automatic update. If you notice your kid is developing an addiction to staying up all night to be on the Internet, it could be a sign to set usage limits and time spend on the Internet. You can use these best apps to limit screen time.
5) Educate your kids about cybersecurity and online threats
No matter how old your children are, if they are using a computer, then they should know a few things, such as what a computer looks like when it is not working, simple electrical safety and that you should never give away any personal information online. Explain in simple and kid language about online threats and how to identify them.
6) Discuss advertising
Adverts flash up more and more in our social media channels’ feeds, so how can children know when they are being targeted for something and what is real or not online? Children need to be aware of how online advertising works.
With a few apps on your phone, you can always oversee your kids’ online activity. And remember, for these apps to work, you and your kids should have reliable internet access on your phones. Once your apps are installed, you can feel more at ease with your kids’ online activity. You’ll get lots of inspiration from our top app lists here.
Be safe and secure with your kids at home, and have fun doing so!