Due to the past year of homeschooling, children have spent even more time online, attached to their screens, often without supervision. Technology has enabled us to connect, learn and communicate like never before, but there are underlying online threats that need to be kept in mind when it comes to children using the internet.
In this constantly changing online world, it’s become crucial for parents to keep children away from inappropriate content. Equally, it’s become vitally important to introduce young learners to cyber safety.
But don’t let this fill you with panic. To help, we’ve teamed up with Fasthosts to highlight the top five internet safety tips for keeping your children out of harm’s way as they continue to spend time online.
1. Discuss online safety from an early age
One of the most effective ways of ensuring children appreciate online safety is to introduce them to the internet from an early age. This way, you can monitor your child as they begin to enjoy learning about the positive elements of online working, while also weaving in helpful themes centred on safety.
This approach gives you the chance to discuss the importance of the internet and address key safety issues that will make the online journey a more enjoyable one. Because you’re slowly introducing these ideas, your child won’t feel overwhelmed and frightened of the internet. Instead, they should start to treat cautiousness as the norm.
2. Confirm their social media privacy settings
Now more than ever, children spend a lot of time online, and it’s easy for them to become consumed by the online world, or even become accidentally exposed to inappropriate content. As parents, you should be aware of any new sites or apps that gain popularity. You should talk openly to your child about implementing security measures and how important they are for online safety.
Whether it’s TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, or another platform, it’s almost inevitable that your child will sign up to use social media. To ensure children’s safety, we suggest that parents should go through the default settings of social media profiles and ensure that their child’s posts can only be seen by confirmed friends.
By discussing this with your child you highlight the importance of how every picture, status and reaction they post online is potentially permanent and should be treated with care. Additionally, children’s social media profiles should remain private so that you can monitor who has access to their profile from afar.
3. Double-check any mobile apps you don’t recognise
At the touch of a button, your child can have access to a wide variety of inappropriate apps. This can be daunting as a parent, but the simplest way to prevent your child from downloading harmful applications is to make sure their device’s app store is password protected. This way, they have to ask your permission before they can download any app.
Alternatively, if you’d rather give them a little more space, you can let your child have their own account and password while keeping a distant eye on any mobile apps that you don’t recognise, or ones that seem suspicious.
4. Develop a relationship built on trust
Perhaps the most important step you can take towards keeping your child safe online is to give them the opportunity to explore the internet themselves, even if it does feel like it’s going a little bit against your better judgement. They’ll spend large chunks of their life online, and you can’t monitor them all the time, so it’s important that they develop a cautious awareness on their own.
Remember that trust works both ways. If you allow your child the freedom to spend time online, they’ll be less wary about coming to you about things they don’t quite understand, or anything that appears unusual – and this, ultimately, is the stage you want to reach. Obviously, take suitable precautions to make sure your child isn’t in danger, but try to keep your distance where possible.
5. YouTube safety mode/Google SafeSearch
Ensuring you’ve enabled Google SafeSearch will go quite some way towards putting your mind at ease and allowing your child to access the internet independently, without running the risk of exposing them to inappropriate material. This also applies to YouTube. Instead of prohibiting access or trying to monitor your child’s use (or worse, always watching over their shoulder), enable the restricted mode that makes accessing dangerous content more difficult.
While in each case there may be instances of some material slipping through the protective net, and you should always remain vigilant regardless, you can be certain that your child will be protected from the majority of unsuitable content.
For more information visit https://www.fasthosts.co.uk/blog/how-to-keep-your-children-safe-online