How to make the internet safer for your children
It’s half term, and luckily, so far, it’s been excellent weather to get out and enjoy some fresh air.
But what happens next week, when you have exhausted all those outdoor activities and we are forecast rain?
If your children, like most these days are fond of going online, how can you make sure you keep them safe?
You can set up parental controls, but for the less tech savvy parent here are some ways that can give you peace of mind before going that far.
Discuss the dangers of the web with your child.
Talk honestly and openly and let your child ask you questions. Make sure they know and understand the dangers and how to avoid them. Explain not to post any personal information, like phone numbers, surnames or address. Make sure your kids feel safe in telling you everything, it’s much easier to stop cyber bullying or grooming, if you are aware of it!
Keep them in eye sight.
Monitor internet usage by having your computers and devices in heavily populated areas of the house and not in their bedroom. You don’t have to be watching every button they press but knowing you are around will deter them from exploring where they shouldn’t.
Set time and usage limits
Make sure your child understands what they can and can’t do when online. Setting time limits means they have less time to explore the vast world of the web and should hopefully stick to their intended task, like homework or research.
Never talk to strangers
Make sure your child understands this means both offline and ON! No matter how friendly their new friends in a chat room are, they are still strangers and could be anybody. If they do get around d this, face to face meetings is an absolute no-no! In fact, if it was up to me, children would be kept out of chat rooms altogether.
It might seem intrusive, but I suggest explaining to your child that you are trusting them on the internet and don’t want to be over their shoulder every second of the day, but you will be doing random spot checks on their devices whenever you feel like it. Make sure you keep their passwords and pin codes too and if they get changed you are within your right as a parent to have an explanation.
Sit with your child whilst they are on the internet, ask them to show you what they like to do whilst they are online, and to teach you things. Learn their habits and where they like to visit, that way new or different website will stand out to you. Don’t be afraid to pick up a book on web security or ask your local IT provider questions. The more you know and understand the safer your kids will be.
Speak to you Internet service provider about parental controls, blocking and filtering tools that they offer. Some providers offer these as standard, but some do charge for the service. You’ve already seen the value in stair gates and plug covers, parental controls keep your child safe in a different way.
Reece has just given me some interesting information about how Windows 10 helps you to keep your children safer on the internet.
In Windows 10, you can make kids accounts, you can block certain websites and only allow them to play games that suit their age.
You can set times of the day that they can use the device and also set activity reports that will be emailed to you weekly so you can see exactly what you children are up to.
It has a lot of other helpful features and if you are concerned about your child online it's worth having a conversation with him about the Windows 10 kids accounts.