Your ques­tions an­swered by se­cu­rity spe­cial­ists

Web User - - Stay Safe Online -

QHow can I make sure my chil­dren stay safe when they go on­line? Karen Greaves, Face­book

AThe re­cent news that so­cial-me­dia sites are harm­ing pupils’ men­tal health ( bit .ly/so­cial446) comes as a warn­ing to par­ents who don’t reg­u­larly check and mon­i­tor their chil­dren’s on­line ac­tiv­ity. From a young age, chil­dren are ex­posed to tech­nol­ogy that lets them eas­ily swipe and click to ac­cess en­ter­tain­ment or in­for­ma­tion. We want to en­sure that this free­dom to ex­plore the on­line world can con­tinue with­out sac­ri­fic­ing their emo­tional safety.

How­ever, a huge 87% of par­ents don’t re­strict the amount of time their young chil­dren spend on­line – and only 13% of par­ents in­stall on­line se­cu­rity. Hav­ing parental con­trols in place and re­view­ing the de­fault set­tings for each app are two very small steps that we, as par­ents, can take.

Your child’s in­ter­net use should be su­per­vised, and you should en­cour­age them to stick to fa­mil­iar web­sites. If you have any con­cerns, take a look at their brows­ing his­tory. Be aware of any pass­word-pro­tected sites that they may be ac­cess­ing and ask them to share their lo­gin de­tails with you.

It’s also im­por­tant to en­cour­age your child to be open about what they do on­line and who they so­cialise with. Pro­mote a cul­ture of safety and aware­ness within the home and talk about the pos­si­ble dan­gers that ex­ist.

As part of your on­line se­cu­rity regime, you should use parental con­trols to block ac­cess to sites you don’t want your child look­ing at – it’s an easy way to avoid dis­as­ter. Re­view the de­fault set­tings on each app that your child uses to en­sure that the cam­era or mi­cro­phone, for ex­am­ple, aren’t need­lessly turned on, be­cause th­ese can pose a threat.

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