Whilst keeping safe has become something of a way of life during the past twelve months, as we stay at home to protect communities from the threat of COVID 19, we also need to ensure that we are safe online too. This is especially important when considering the number of children remotely working on their schoolwork.
With 96% of households having internet access, most of the world is exposed to online activities such as websites, online gaming, and social media. Whilst an important and often essential part of life, safety online is just as crucial as safety in times of pandemic.
Here are some ways to keep your children safe online:
Filtering and blocking to limit access to specific language or images through the controls within your browser. This can be important as children may be influenced through social media to search for certain words and images that are inappropriate for their age. Therefore, by having these controls, it protects your child from exposure to potentially dangerous and upsetting content.
Use monitoring tools to see your child’s online activity. By taking off the privacy on Google, allows you to view your child’s online activity by looking at their watch history with the website links and search history.
Block outgoing content that prevents your child from sharing personal information such as names, locations and email addresses.
Google guide for managing your child’s content: https://support.google.com/families/answer/7087030?hl=en#zippy=
Keeping an eye on your child’s devices:
Speak to your child about positioning the computer in an area of the house where you can what they are doing. Slowly build up trust with them before allowing them to use the internet alone.
Many devices now have a feature called ‘Screen-Time’ - where you can decide how long they can spend on an app, or prohibit a specific apps use all together.
We cannot constantly watch devices and monitor our child’s online activity, however we can openly talk to children about online safety. By keeping lines of conversation open, we can ensure they are aware of potential dangers.
Like everything in life, the internet comes with its risks - but it is also important to highlight and discuss with your child the positives of technology and the internet. Explain how it enables them to connect with family who they may be unable to directly visit or talk about how it can be used for education, and allow them access to subjects they are interested in
Make sure that you know your childs ‘online friends’. These should be friends they know outside the online world and you know well. Teach your children that some people may not be who they say they are online.
Being open with your child about online safety can be important so they can learn to be vigilant online and, look out for warning signs if something isnt right.
Internet matters parent and teacher support packs:
Safer internet resources (3-11 years old):
Google's 'Be Internet Awesome’ game: