Staying safe online is a major concern for everyone, but how can you make sure your little ones are protected? Children aren’t as capable of identifying potential threats and risks as adults but with these tips you can help keep them safe.
The first and perhaps most important step to protecting your children when they are using the internet is to make sure you know a bit about their internet usage. What websites does your child visit? Just because a website doesn’t include any explicit content, doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. Social networking sites and chat rooms are just as dangerous.
Furthermore, just looking at the web addresses your children has looked at is not always a good indicator of the content you’ll find there – many websites have chat functions that aren’t its core purpose so you need to educate yourself on this before you can help your child.
Educate your child
Instead of snooping on your child, which can alienate them if it leads to them being confronted about something they are embarrassed about, just talk to them. Let them know you are on their side and that if they come across something or someone that distresses them, you won’t be upset with them.
Communication with your kids may be difficult but it is vitally important because even if you protect the one family computer in your house, your child could still encounter danger when accessing the internet elsewhere
By making them aware of the risks of web use, you are likely to make them more cautious wherever they use it. Stress the dangers, not just of information that they send out – sharing pictures and personal information – but also of downloading things they are unsure of, such as harmful programmes and imagery.
When it comes to actually controlling the content that gets to the computer, parental controls are wide ranging and effective. Most browsers have an option to filter explicit content, as do operating systems themselves – Microsoft Windows will let you enforce family safety on certain user accounts which can only be lifted by somebody with password privileges.
You can also install third party software which will filter content. You may want to shop around internet service providers and see if they have the option to opt out of certain content. In addition, some ISPs like BT TV and Broadbandhave programmes that bolster family protection that are well worth considering.
But don’t just leave it there: think about whether your child has a smartphone or console – do some research, and see whether their systems allow you to surf the internet and what options are available to curtail explicit content.
More childalert tips for online safety click here
How to keep your children safe online click here