The age for the ‘talk’ is getting younger and younger these days. And we don’t mean the one to ease your child into adolescence. We’re talking about how to keep your kids safe online.
With phones becoming smarter and children becoming more tech savvy, it can be hard to keep up with the kind of content they are able to access. While it’s a great resource for homework, connecting with friends and playing games, we can’t always control what our children will come across while online.
Here are some tips to help keep them safe while they’re online.
Manage the software
If you have an anti-virus software installed, update the parental controls to avoid anything salacious popping up while your kids are using the internet.
Treat it like you would real life
Explain to them the dangers of posting online. Once it’s on the internet, it cannot be unsaid so if they’re not sure they would say something to a person’s face, they shouldn’t say it on the internet.
Educate early and often
Don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about it. By getting in there early, you can explain to them that though the internet is a great resource, it can be a dangerous place too. Keep communication lines open and non-judgemental and decide what the plan of action is if something goes wrong online.
Disable In-App purchases
In-App purchases are incredibly easy to do if they’ve been done once before. Go into settings and turn that off before your current account dwindles down to nought.
Be consistent. For younger children especially, give them set times, and specific apps or sites they are allowed to access when they are on the internet. Keep it supervised, within a time limit and in certain areas of the house. Set up maximum privacy settings on any social apps they download, and make it clear they cannot accept friend requests from people they do not know in person.
Teach them about passwords (and no, 1234 is not a good one) and that they should have a different one for each site they sign up to (if social media is allowed.). Explain to them the dangers of lost passwords and how easy it is for a hacker to get into accounts.
Many apps need an email address to contact for sales and marketing purposes so set up a family email account for this purpose. That way you will be notified of any new apps or downloads made.
We hear of a new case of cyber bullying everyday so be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for any signs of this in your home. Watch and see if your child quickly changes screens when you come near them while they’re on their device, it could be a sign they are a perpetrator. If your child becomes withdrawn, angry or depressed after being online this could be a sign they are a victim.