A huge concern of mine is letting children use these devices without educating them on the dangerous associated with online socialising. In order to educate the children and teens, we first must educate ourselves, the adults and parents. You can’t always be watching over their shoulder so consciousness of the risks and self-awareness ideas for protection is vital. The Internet is a great place where kids will explore and learn. The problem with today’s most popular search engines is they can surprise the user with shocking images and other content that are unexpectedly associated with the search query. Popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo provide easily configurable options that allow the blocking of most explicit images and results from appearing. Do this on the browsers of your child/teen device today.
Telling a child not to use Facebook, is not going to stop them. Telling them the dangers associated with let’s say “checking in at home” using a public profile however, may just stop them in their tracks!! Research by Disney Club Penguin published in the Telegraph has found that four in five parents are planning to buy their children an internet-enabled device this Christmas, but half of parents are not intending to put online safety measures in place! Take a look at the Disney Club Penguin to put together a guide for parents about internet-enabled devices like tablets, smartphones and games consoles to get some great tips and information.
In the meantime, I urge you to talk to teens and kids about online safety. Try these helpful steps:
1. Get involved in your children’s digital activity. Talk to your children about technology and safety, ask them about privacy online. Ask them if they are on Twitter, Facebook, Vines, Snapchat and so on.
2. Get to grips with the terminology and the technology. You can’t expect your kids to be safer online if you won’t even understand the first thing about computers, the device or even the internet in general. Make sure you know what functions the device has; you could get your child to show you what they like to do, or play a game together.
3. Use the tools and resources available to you. Most devices have parental control tools that can help you, for example by preventing in-app purchases so you don’t get any shock bills. Plus you can contact your home internet provider who can help you set up free filters and give you great advice.
If your kids have an Xbox One, check out this advice from Microsoft. If they have a PS4, check out this advice from PlayStation. Here is a great resource from Vodafone with lots of great tips about smartphones, downloading music and apps. Don’t forget to ask when you’re buying any internet enabled technology about the protections that it offers.
Finally, here are 4 quick things your kids/teens need to know…
1. Never give out personal details online, such as your real name, address, age or phone number. Even posting information about which school you attend can help the potential bully find out more.
2. In addition to making sure you don’t post your personal details online, make sure to keep your actual profile private, or at least ensure that only known friends can view it.
3. Make sure you are familiar with the security measures available to you by the various social networks. Take particular care to ensure you understand how to block numbers and email addresses.
4. Be careful about even the most basic of information. Whilst the temptation may be to share everything about your life online, you should try and avoid putting anything there that could get twisted or used in a manipulative way. Don’t “check in” everywhere you go, or when you are home!
You and your children need to be alert to the potential dangers when enjoying the Internet and know what to do should anything unpleasant happen. That way your family can continue to benefit from the world of information and opportunity as safely as is possible.