How to ensure your kids stay safe when they’re online
The internet is a very useful tool to help your kids develop. Whether they need help with homework, talk to their friends from school or just play, they can just log on to the computer or tablet, but steering clear of danger is something that doesn’t always enter their thoughts. A session of carefree browsing might seem fun, but clicking on the wrong page could do a lot of harm.
If you have young children, you might feel it’s necessary to watch their every click. While this can be useful in case they click on something by mistake that you won’t want them to see, it’s impossible to do this all the time, especially as they get older. To avert any problems such as clicking on a pop-up ad by mistake or talking to someone they shouldn’t, here are some handy tips:
Select a list of sites they can visit
As a mum to an 13 and 15 year old, I am extremely concerned about the things they view on the net, but I’m aware that I have to loosen the restrain as they mature into their own and trust that they’ll be safe even when unsupervised. If unlike me, you have younger kids then it’s best to limit them to only visiting a handful of sites in the ‘favourites’ column of your web browser. When mine were little our computer was downstairs in our kitchen at a workstation and so I did find it easier to monitor. However, now with Iphones, tablets and laptops I can see how easy it can become for them to have more ‘freedom’.
By slowly introducing them to the wonders of the web, you can show them more interesting sites as they get older. That way, you won’t have too much to worry about when you feel they’re ready to browse without you watching over them. We started with the CBeebies and Nickelodeon sites which were firm favourites. As my eldest got older it moved on to Club Penguin and Minecraft.
Use a comprehensive antimalware program
This is one of the easiest steps to take to help keep your kids safe online. A family protection software with user defined restrictions and allowances could help with blocking any malicious or ‘adult’ sites that your kids may enter by accident, minimising any damage in the process.
Leave social media till later
Image credits to jcfacility.co.uk
However, once they start secondary school and approach their teens, your kids might want to create a social media account. You should tell them about how it works, and if you’re on the same site as them, add them as friends or follow them to see what they’re up to, just to give you peace of mind. When they started on Facebook one of the rules was that they had to be friends with both myself and my OH. That way we could easily keep track of what they were doing on there. Our reasoning being, there is no need to be embarrassed about what was being said and therefore there would be less secrets. They know we occasionally check on their timeline just to make sure they are being ‘appropriate’. My OH is also a policeman and so has always made them aware of the possible dangers of chat sites and online gaming such as Xbox etc. We also have rules in place with the gaming and my youngest who has just turned a teenager yesterday has yet to be registered on his!
I think it’s all about being sensible as a parent, if you are able to build up trust with the older kids whilst allowing them to make some of the decisions you are at least on the right track. With younger kids it’s all about the security precautions you can impose without them being aware.
DISCLOSURE:This is a Collaborative PR related article