Online Safety Tips for Parents
The internet is an amazing place and it can provide hours of fun for children! It is important that we teach them how to use it safely to protect them from online dangers. We’ve pulled together our top 10 tips on how to make sure your child stays safe online:
Protect their privacy
The majority of platforms your child uses will have built-in privacy settings, with most having specific parental settings. It is important that you utilise these to best protect your child in the online world.
Have regular conversations with your children
Remember, your children are smart! They will most likely know ways around the parental controls you have set up. This is why frequent discussions are so important, so they can feel reassured if something does go wrong online. Asking your children about the apps they use and how they use them is a great conversation starter.
Stay up to date with the latest platforms and trends
It can be difficult to keep up with the latest apps that children are using. If they know they shouldn’t be on the app, they may hide it from you. Visit the app store and take a look at the most popular apps; there is usually a section which features the top children apps.
Additionally, there are regularly new social media ‘challenges’ which go viral, quickly. These can often be dangerous and encourage others to take part. An example of a recent challenge, was to go missing for 48 hours, seizing all contact with family and friends. You would score points every time a worried relative mentioned you on social media.
It is extremely important to open up conversation with your child about online ‘challenges’ to ensure they know not to get involved.
Know your devices
Make sure you are aware of what devices your child is using and learn about the potential risks associated with them. This doesn’t just include mobile phones and tablets! Smart TV’s and games consoles which connect to the internet pose lots of dangers for children.
Always check the age restrictions on apps and games to ensure they are accessing appropriate material for their age. The majority of social media apps are suitable for ages 13+. Installing ‘kids’ versions of apps onto smartphones and tablets is another way you can help prevent them from accessing inappropriate content online.
Make a family agreement with your child
Setting boundaries with your child’s device usage can help reduce their exposure to online dangers. Apps are addictive by design, so setting time limits for your children to be on their devices can be useful. It may be an option to ban phones/devices in their bedroom so you can be confident that they are not using their phones past bedtime.
Be there if something goes wrong
No matter how much you try to protect your child from online dangers, there will always be a chance that something could go wrong. If they ever feel uncomfortable with something that happens online, they need to feel comfortable to talk to you.
Explore the internet together
Spend time with your child on the internet and take an interest in the games that they are playing. They will enjoy showing off to you about what they can do and it will allow you to discover the online world through their eyes. By doing this, you may discover some things within the apps and games that you want to research further.
If your child is creating a new social media profile, it is a good idea to be present; this way you can explain to your child why you are using particular parental settings.
Minimise or stop ‘Sharenting’
It is important to lead by example when it comes to using social media. The phrase ‘Sharenting’ has become increasingly popular in the past year or so. It is used to describe when a parent shares images, videos or posts about their children on social media. The internet provides a great platform to share pictures of their children with friends and family, but if YOUR privacy settings are not set up correctly, you are exposing your child to online dangers.
Turn off automatic updates on apps
Most social media apps and games have regular updates due to new features or to make the app suitable for new devices that have been launched. By turning off automatic updates, this will give you the opportunity to check what exactly has changed with the app before accepting. It is always worth reading through the updates, as app owners can discreetly tweak their terms and conditions which can sometimes mean they take your personal information.
First News is a weekly newspaper aimed at 7 to 14-year-olds that aims to get kids talking about the news in an easy to understand and non-threatening way.
We cover issues which are relevant to children and which specifically affect them. Inside you’ll find a mix of world news and UK news, but also loads of fun stuff, such as entertainment, games, animals, sport and puzzles.
These tips have been provided by National Online Safety: At National Online Safety, it is our mission to make the internet a safer place for children. We achieve this through equipping school staff, parents and children with the knowledge they need to understand online dangers and how best to react should an incident arise. We provide an interactive Online Safety course for parents and carers, through the Online Safety World website, which equips parents and carers with fundamental information to help keep their children safe in the online world.
For information on online safety courses for parent visit: https://onlinesafetyworld.com/products/online-safety-course-for-parents/