One of my biggest worries as my children grow is how to keep them safe on the internet. Despite my best efforts, my children do enjoy playing on their iPads, watching Netflix and YouTube, and playing interactive games. And as much as at four, five, and six I can monitor their internet use and use parental restrictions, with Lewis at almost 15 it’s a whole new ball game.
In honour of Safer Internet Day, Project Mc2 have released their top tips for helping your kids stay safe online, and it’s vital that as parents we familiarise ourselves with this advice and really take it on board.
1. Connect with your children on social media.
This is a great idea and something I do with Lewis. Although I’m sure it’s not always “cool” to have your Mum liking your instagram selfies, knowing that I can see the kind of images my child is sharing, and the kind of responses he is receiving, reassures me that he is staying safer on line.
2. Monitor who they are making friends with and who they are sending messages to.
This is so important as, although we can connect with our children on social media, you cannot see their private messages unless you have access to their phone at all times. Mc2 suggests asking an older sibling to keep an eye on them as a child may be more likely to confide in one of their peers and having that line of communication is so important.
3. Talk about your children’s favourite sites with them.
Casual conversations about the sites your child likes to look at on line can give a valuable insight into the kind of things your child is looking at when you are not there. It’s worth making a note of any websites they mention so you can check them out later on, just to double check these websites are age appropriate for your child.
4. Chat with them about the importance of not sharing personal information on line.
This is such a great tip and one we really need to make sure our children are well aware of. I have always told Lewis never to reveal his phone number or home address, or even his full name to anyone he doesn’t know as you just can’t be too safe when it comes to your safety.
5. Add parental locks.
Parental locks are such a great idea for younger children, and older teens, using the internet. Obviously those controls will adapt as a child grows, but I know with my youngest three Youtube is blocked on their iPads and they must go through Kids YouTube which is specially installed.
So there you have it, five top tips to keep your kids safer on-line. How many of these do you do?