How to Best Manage your Children’s Online Safety- A Practical Guide
The Internet is a strange, and exciting place, a place of endless potential exploration. However, it’s also a domain where users need to exercise considerable caution. It’s especially important you educate your children and ideally give them some restrictions and guidelines to follow. If you’re unsure of how to manage your children’s online safety we’ve compiled some useful suggestions.
In our contemporary 24/7 digital culture, it’s incredibly difficult to monitor young peoples online activity. Therefore, it’s probably advisable to maintain a regular dialog regarding their use and the potential risks.
Tips for Safe Searching
- Adjust Google Search settings. You can change your Google Search settings to block explicit results. This isn’t 100% effective, but it’s a great start. Find out how here.
- For younger children under 10 years of age, you should consider using a child-safe browser. PC Mag provides an excellent overview of the various child safe browsers available.
- It’s probably wise to have regular conversations with your children and allow them to talk to you if they encounter anything confronting or disconcerting online.
Keeping Safe on Social Media
Social media use has quickly become ubiquitous. It’s not just those 16 and over that are regularly using social media, an estimated forty-five percent of 8 to 11-year-olds use social media sites (Kidsmatter.edu).
Social Media Safety Tips
- Do not add people on Social Media you don’t know in real life. Don’t accept friend requests from a complete stranger!
- Beware of Catfishing! Catfishing is when someone adopts a false identity to fool another user online. It’s important to know that people are not necessarily who they seem online.
- You can’t ever truly delete anything posted to social media. Therefore, it’s incredibly important they know to think thoroughly about the potential ramifications of any post.
- Facebook requires all users are at least 13 years of age. However, they do little to stop younger users signing up using a false date of birth. You should probably at least be aware of which social media platforms your children are using.
- Never post anything online that your friends might find hurtful or embarrassing.
Tips for Use of Smart Phones
- An obvious first place to start is in the phones settings tabs. You may want to adjust the specific settings such as data usage limits, that way you won’t be shocked by a sudden huge bill.
- It’s advisable that smartphones are passcode protected, so no one can use it if you accidentally leave it temporarily unmonitored. You may want to set a passcode on your kid’s phone that you both have access to.
- Disable location tracking for most applications. Many applications will ask to utilize your location services upon setup. You should always consider whether an application requires your location to work properly. It usually doesn’t! Disable location tracking on camera and social media apps.
- There are a number of third-party applications that can restrict almost every element of a smart-phones function. Consider placing some age-dependent restraints on your children’s phones.
- Know how to spot fake apps! Apps that may at first glance appear similar to well-recognizable applications may contain hidden Malware or Viruses. It’s best to only download applications from trusted sources. Learn more here with this useful c-net article.
Just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s accurate
It’s important that your children are aware that not all online resources are reliable. There is plenty of misinformation online! However, even worse many scam sites are attempting to steal users personal data. You should encourage your kids to ask your permission before signing up to any online resources that require them to enter details.
Make Bedrooms Device-Free Zones
You should certainly consider banning mobile and handheld devices from your children’s bedrooms.
Even if your child’s browsing and social media habits are entirely innocuous, using electronic devices around bedtime can be over stimulating. Research demonstrates that using electronic devices close to bedtime can have a highly detrimental impact on a restful night sleep.
There is emerging evidence that late night texting compromises academic performance.