Your questions answered by security specialists
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.