It is likely that now you and your family are spending a lot more time at home there has been a general increase in ‘screen time’ for your children. Whether that is working their way through the school work that that has been provided for them, catching up with friends they haven’t seen for weeks, or playing a few more extra games than normal.

Yes the internet and technology is incredibly important for a child’s development for the future but it is also a huge source of entertainment for us all these days. From funny cat videos to Minecraft cheats and baking tutorials. 

Ensuring your child’s safety online is so important, especially during this time when everyone is more aware of the amount of time that may be spent online – this includes hackers. 

Educating your children, (no matter their age), to operate safely online is essential from managing their own behaviours to being able to recognise unacceptable behaviour in others. In this blog we will go through some technical tips you can implement to help keep them safe, as well as some tips on how you can monitor, help educate and set up rules for operating online. 

Technical Tips:

  • Install mature content monitoring software, for example ‘Net Nanny’. These can help you monitor the types of sites your children are visiting and filter out any content that is inappropriate. Read this article from PCMag for the best parental control software for 2020.
  • Taking advantage of your browser parental controls. The majority of browsers have an ‘Internet options’ setting that you can adjust. Ask google for a set of instructions if you are unsure where to go. These settings can help block out mature content such as language, sex, nudity etc. 
  • Monitor the age restrictions for the games that your children request to play- are they age appropriate? If not have you played it yourself to make you are 100% confident it is appropriate for them.
  • From a security perspective, and if you can, it is worth having separate devices for children so that if they do accidentally stumble across something that could infect their device, it does not affect your work or main family laptop.
  • If they are using shared devices, make sure that they do not have admin access and are not able to change any default settings which could impact the security of the device.  

Educational tips:

  • Highlight from an early age that the online world is similar to the real world in that there are safe things and unsafe things on there too. You can also discuss the things that are there to protect them to help them feel safer- internet security, passwords etc.
  • A great rule of thumb is to use the rule ‘if you wouldn’t do it face to face, don’t do it online’. Would you start up a conversation with a stranger in the supermarket, would you give them personal details about where you live etc?
  • Stress the importance to your teens about the permanence of online activity. Something you write and post today will be available in 5 years’ time. If it is controversial think twice about writing it.
  • Get them to show you the types of things that they get up to online, ask them to share their activity with you. What do they enjoy playing doing- perhaps you could even play together. 

Establish rules for when they are online:

  • Times they can and cannot go online/play games
  • Types of websites they cannot visit, or the types of content they should report to you if they come across it
  • The kind of information you cannot share online, e.g. address, bank details etc. 

Following through with these instructions and new ‘rules’ is the hardest part, but the internet can be a scary place to navigate when unattended so keep that in mind when enforcing them.

Having regular conversations about internet safety is key to making sure your children feel that you are approachable if they have ever felt uncomfortable whilst playing online

A great resource that you can share with your older children or read through with your younger children is Safety Net kids for the personal safety/staying safe online there are loads of articles that can help you navigate it together. 

Communication is key! 

If you are still concerned about any area of security for your children or yourself whilst working more at home get in touch with one of our team members who can guide you through some of their top tips. We are still open and operational supporting our clients so do not hesitate to give us a call on 01523 813 003. 

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