Online safety – How to better keep your kids safe

Girl using tablet being aware of online safety
photo: Kelly Sikkema - unsplash

Online safety is important for everyone these days, especially so for our kids, This article will cover how you can help your kids.

As your kids grow up they begin to use devices, eventually, they’ll have their own. It’s therefore important that we teach them to be savvy about their online safety.

The internet is without a doubt a fantastic invention. It has many good sides. We’re able to keep in touch with distant friends and family. We can look up information within seconds. Let’s not forget the important one, finding places to go and book holidays! But how do you ensure your kids have a good awareness of the darker side!

Set up parental controls.

Firstly, be sure to set parental controls up on all the devices your child will use. Parental controls help you to block out any disturbing or unsuitable content. You can set up parental controls on all devices and most software. Be sure to set the controls up on TVs and streaming services, phones and other mobile devices, computers, and consoles. They usually have the ability to limit screentime as well. You can also set up filters on your broadband router too.

Setting up parental controls can also save you money as they won’t be able to make unauthorised purchases.

Online safety for kids - image of girl working on a laptop
photo: Annie Spratt-unsplash

Good advice on keeping your devices secure

Being secure is an important part of internet safety. Make sure your kids understand the importance of not sharing log on information with others. Poor security measures can end up seeing your kid’s passwords and information up for sale on the dark web.

You can take these simple steps:

  • Use strong passwords and never repeat them on other apps or websites. A password manager can really help with this. They can generate long secure passwords. There are great free versions around such as LastPass.
  • Keep your device’s software up to date. Ensure you have ‘check for updates’ automatically. As well as performance improvements and bug fixes, updates often contain important security patches.
  • Be very careful about installing software that comes from third parties other than Microsoft, Apple, and Google Play app stores. installing ‘dodgy apps’ can see them steal all of your data from your phone.
  • Unless you trust a website say no to web-browser extensions and pop-up messages.
  • When adding personal details to a website be sure there is a padlock by the web address. Alternatively, be sure it starts with https:// rather than http:// It means your information can’t be easily hacked. This is standard for websites these days.
  • Be sure to use good antivirus software to make sure your computer stays free from threats.

Keeping data and privacy safe

Phishing posts, messages, and emails are rife these days. Many scammers spoof legitimate organisations and messages. It only takes a message at the right time. When someone is having an off day and they don’t realise it fake. Then they can give away their security details.

Be sure that your kids question messages. Especially ones that ask them to ‘log on’ to a website or ask for personal details. Especially if it’s unexpected or they speak of some sort of problem!

Being aware of the gloss of social media

Eventually, they’ll venture on to social media. It’s important to teach kids that people’s social media lives aren’t their real lives. At best they’re just a snapshot. At worst they’re completely glossed over fabrication.

It’s important to help them understand this before they get on to social media. They could so easily, as many people do fall into the trap of comparison. This can then lead to mental health problems.

Being aware of the fake

We’ve all heard about or seen the viral posts that are ‘fake news’. They can be dangerous and some people share them without question. They often just read a shock headline before hitting share!

Although social media platforms are working on this, it’s not perfect yet. Twitter will now check that you want to share an article before reading it. Speaking of sharing feel free to share this article if you find it useful. Make sure kids know to read stories before blindly sharing. Also teach them that they should check the facts too.

Google’s Interland – Online safety game

Google has a great game for children. The game covers all the areas of internet safety. It teaches kids how to stay safe online in a fun way. Even adults might learn something from it and find it fun! We did.

Your kids can play Interland here.

Health and well-being, effects of screen time in children and adolescents

Are you worried that your kids might be spending too much time online or in front of the screen? Then you may want to read our article about screentime.

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