What you need to know about online safety for kids - in two minutes

There is no denying that we are raising children in a digital world. Today’s kids are exposed to online activity in a way we never were. In order to keep our children safe, we need to educate ourselves about online safety.

Here are some things you need to know about keeping your kids safe when using the internet.

Create restrictions on what your kids can see online
Most parents will agree they hold concerns about the kind of material their children can stumble across when browsing online. Even a simple Google* search on a benign topic can uncover some unsavoury results.

But did you know that you can actually restrict what your child can search for online?

Using supervised user options in Google, you can see what your child has been searching for, and if necessary, block pages which you feel may not be appropriate for small people.

You can also enable the ‘SafeSearch’ function in Google which allows you to filter out mature content for search results. If you do come across something which doesn’t meet the child friendly filter, you can report it to Google, who will investigate and remove the site from the SafeSearch results if necessary.

If your child wants to view content on YouTube*, consider installing YouTube Kids which only yields child friendly search results. You can even turn off the search function, meaning they can only view featured content which has been approved by YouTube child friendly filters. 

Limit where and when your child can use devices
If you’d like to keep an eye on what your child is up to online, consider imposing a rule which only lets them use devices while in the same room as you. If children are allowed to browse unaccompanied, they are far more likely to get in to trouble online.

Consider moving family computers near the family room or kitchen so you can be present while your kids are searching online or using social media.

Limit the time your kids have with their devices and remove them when you feel they’ve had enough.

Use filters to restrict what your kids can download in app stores
Parents are able to use filters and restrictions in app stores which prevent children from being able to download mature focused apps to their devices.

You can also enable passwords which allow you to approve downloads before they are installed, which is also handy for preventing unwanted charges on your credit card. Depending on the age of your child you may opt to password protect your child’s device which will prompt you to enter a password whenever a purchase is attempted.

Use passwords
Control and monitor your child’s online activity by installing passwords on devices and social media accounts that your children may use. Make your children aware that you will have the passwords to the accounts and be vigilant about monitoring them. This will enable you to keep an eye on what’s going on, and check to see if they are engaging in any risky behaviour online.

Many parents frequently change their Wi-Fi passwords and keep them secret from the kids. This means your children can only access the internet when you say, meaning they won’t be searching for things without your knowledge.

Talk to your children about online safety and sharing personal information
The most important thing for parents to do when it comes to online safety is to have ongoing conversations with their children about online security. Explain to your children the importance of not sharing personal information with people online, and educate them on the risks of online interaction.

It’s important that we begin discussions with our children from an early age. As soon as your child starts browsing the internet you should start talking to them in an age appropriate way about online dangers. Remind them of safe behaviour and make it clear that they understand the rules of using devices, such as not accepting friend requests from people they don’t know, not posting public photos etc. 

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