Online media is an important part of modern life, helping kids connect, learn and play.
Kids are eager to explore the digital world and are often more adept at using technology than their parents. So how do you safeguard your kids from accessing and creating inappropriate content while ensuring their device stays damage free? Here are five simple ways to ensure your devices are child-proof and child-friendly.
Set up passwords and profiles
Make sure all of your family devices require a password and try and make them imaginative (i.e. the dog’s name is probably not secure enough). If more than one family member uses the same device, set up separate user profiles or accounts. By setting up child accounts, you can restrict inappropriate content and block certain apps to avoid a rogue bid on eBay* or an unauthorised online banking transfer. Only adults should have administrator accounts, while kids should be set up with parental controls.
Install internet monitoring software
Using parental control software is a great idea as it allows you to block inappropriate content and mask profanity across multiple devices. It can also be used to monitor social media activity and protect your kids from online threats and cyber-bullying. This software sends reports and mail alerts about your child’s online activity, allowing you to check usage and change your child’s profile settings from any computer. You can also reduce screen time in a more structured way by allocating a set amount of time that your child is allowed to be online.
Set up a smart router
Another way to restrict your child’s online activity is to set up a separate kids’ Wi-Fi router through various mobile apps that are available. These apps create a children’s Wi-Fi network and keep watch over all devices connected to it. The app allows you to carefully manage the types of content your child’s device can access and set how long the connection should last while adult’s devices remain unrestricted. You can even put your kid’s device into homework mode which blocks social media and gaming sites. If your child reaches the time limit set for internet access, they can request an extension which you can approve or decline via the app.
Invest in a sturdy case
We’ve all encountered the horror of a smashed screen and had to fork out to repair or replace one of our devices, sometimes more than once. Investing in a heavy duty laptop or tablet case should be high on your priority list. Look for a case that is shock proof and water resistant to protect your child’s device from falls, drops and unplanned dips in puddles. It’s also a good idea to use a clear screen protector, particularly on tablets and smart phones. Probably best to get an extended warranty too!
Talk to them
Have regular chats with your kids about their online activity. Explain the dangers of disclosing personal information, engaging with strangers and uploading inappropriate content so they learn to self-manage their online conduct. The teenage years can be an especially difficult time as your kids increasingly use social media to connect with friends. Keep the communication lines open and make sure they always feel comfortable discussing any online issues with you.
Keeping your kids safe online while protecting their devices will ensure that they (and you) can focus on enjoying all the wonderful opportunities the digital world offers.
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