Are you cyber smart? We don't need to be experts to keep our kids safe online, but there are many basic guidelines parents should follow to help prevent encounters with strangers and inappropriate content popping up on their screens.
To help maximise the many advantages of using the internet, here are some internet safety tips every parent should know to keep kids safe online:
- Anything that is put on the web should be assumed permanent, tell your kids that content is FOREVER! Remind them not to share or post anything they wouldn't want friends, family or future employers to see.
- Download Google's new parental control app Family Link, it's an excellent resource to help monitor and manage kid's phone time. Google Family Link gives parents access to block apps, approve downloads, limit screen time and filter search results. This is a great way to improve internet safety at home.
- Introduce technology gradually by encouraging them to build up trust by using your phone before getting their smart device. This way, you can monitor what they get up to online and time spent browsing.
- Create healthy habits by limiting screen time by balancing it with green time. Ban digital devices at mealtimes, in the bedroom and the car and encourage your children to be active, to go outdoors and to interact with their friends face to face.
- Passwords should be secret. Ensure your child understands the importance of not sharing their passwords with anyone aside from you. Ensure passwords are long, unique and secure made up of numbers, letters and symbols.
- When setting up online accounts for your child, use sensible email addresses and usernames. Always avoid using their real name and date of birth.
- When using digital devices, its best to be close-by to supervise what they are playing or watching and make sure they are not using headphones so you can hear the content in the background.
- Before using YouTube, turn on restrictions to block out comments and to filter out any content that might be deemed inappropriate. Or consider Youtube Kids, a filtered version with a parental control feature
- Make sure your child understands the importance of not taking any photos of a sexual nature. Any images involving nudity is classed as child pornography, and in most cases, photos of this kind end up in the wrong hands and could ruin their reputation.
- A majority of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram have age requirements when signing up to protect children, don't give your child access to these websites until they reach the minimum requirements.