HOW TO PROTECT YOUR KIDS ONLINE
Chances are your children know more about the internet than you do, but it’s your responsibility to keep them safe online. Don’t worry, with a little bit of know-how, it’s possible to take control, while still allowing them enough freedom to enjoy it safe
Q How can I prevent my kids accessing inappropriate content online?
All respectable internet service providers (ISP) offer free parental controls. These cover all computers, laptops, games consoles, smartphones and tablets, and give you the opportunity to filter and block access to sites with unsuitable content, or even set timers to limit surfing. Mobile providers also offer extensive filters, so your kids are protected away from home, too.
Q How can I turn on parental controls?
Security controls can be found under ‘Settings’ on your ISP’S website homepage (sky.com, bt.com, etc), as well as on your web browser (Google, Safari, Bing, etc). Log in to your account and follow the instructions. If you use Apple devices, you’ll find them under ‘System Preferences’ and for Microsoft, you can set up a Family account via account. microsoft.com/family.
Q What about social media?
Popular sites like Facebook, Snapchat and Youtube require you to be at least 13 to join, yet there’s no real way of policing this. When you are happy for your kids to have an account, you can limit their exposure to unsuitable content and attention. On Snapchat, find the security settings via the ‘Ghost’ logo and if you don’t want your children receiving pictures and videos from strangers, make sure they can only accept media from their approved ‘Friends’. Look for the ‘?’ symbol on Facebook and you’ll find all the security settings. We recommend only allowing ‘Friends’ to view their personal information, and making sure that photos or videos uploaded are viewable by ‘Friends’ only. To keep pics from being public on Instagram, set the account to ‘Private’ and switch off ‘geo-tagging’ location services, so their whereabouts can’t be tracked. On Youtube we recommend Youtube Kids for pre-teens, which has been designed as a safe space for younger kids, while for older children, turn on ‘Restricted Mode’, which blocks mature content. It needs to be activated on any device (tablet, phone, laptop) your child uses.
Q How can I limit the amount of time they spend online?
Webcurfew and Netnanny are subscription software packages that let you set time and duration limits on your child’s device. They also filter website access and monitor the sites they visit.