child with iPad

The web is a one big, mammoth collection of info, and despite there being some dark  and scary corners to avoid, it’s pretty important your child has access to all its wonders when the time is right, of course.

My son Oliver has just turned 5 and with my guidance, plays a few online games on the Cbeebies website and together we search YouTube for old Batman episodes and music videos he loves (Hello Pharell)!

There’s no denying the internet offers children inspiration to learn, discover new interests, connect with friends, play online games, and even build their own space via websites (child blogs are all the rage don’t you know) but it can be a scary place too.

Online predators, adult websites, malicious software, and bullying means parents need to be proactive in guiding and monitoring use- and with that in mind, I wanted to share some tips to help ensure your child gets the best from the internet while being safe online:

Set a Policy, Filter, and Discuss

The web can easily suck you in and have you traveling down the rabbit hole when you’re searching around and interacting with others. It’s important that you set a policy that gives ample amount of time for your child to explore the Web but not become too consumed by it.

To be proactive and allot an hour a day to ensure they are taking time to do other important activities such as socialising with friends (in real life), exploring their hobbies, and doing their school work of course.

The other important action is to set up web filters for your child. There are tools and built-in features for your browser which can limit the websites they are allowed to visit or filter results based on keywords.

Of course, if you want to make sure that your child is staying safe, I would recommend that you’re close by when they are using the web. Placing the family computer in the main room will allow you to see their browsing habits and monitor them so you both feel secure.

I would also recommend that you sit down with them from time to time and show them what not to do such as opening a malicious file, clicking on certain ads, or sharing personal information with others. Education is key to safety.

 

Protect the Computer at Its Core

Software, will be your second line of defence in keeping your child safe when they’re at the computer and online.

Antivirus programs have come a long way and many now feature online protection tools that will monitor web usage in real-time and block access to a malicious site or catch and quarantine if a malicious file has been downloaded.

Internet security software is what the experts recommend.

This specific type of security program is tailored for web usage.

Many of the main features you’ll find with these type of programs allow for detecting spam emails, helping you set the right privacy settings on social sites, and enabling you to control desktop apps and restrict online access to kids.

Trendmicro.com also recommends safeguarding your social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

I also hate the idea of my kids being followed around the internet by marketing messages based on their search terms so I’ve installed privacy software by Searchlock to prevent tracking by search engines.

 

Be Vigilant with Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is horrendous and a big worry for my kids as they grow up, because unlike schoolyard bullying, it’s one that follows your child at all times.

Shockingly, almost one in five kids will receive harassment and hateful messages on social sites, emails, messengers, in texts, and video.

To help prevent and of course tackle cyber bullying, it’s important that you spend time with your child to explain that they must speak out when it is happening.

If it is, you can then take the following measures- help your child to create a block on an individual, set spam filters for those hateful emails, identify the other parent and have a talk with them, and encourage your child to stay away from fueling the fire by responding hatefully.

A fantastic resource for cyberbullying is http://www.stopbullying.gov/.

Here’s to keeping all our children safe online.

Please add any more of your tips in the comments too. Thanks.

 

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21 Responses

  1. Kat | Beau Twins

    Great post! It’s such an important message to send to parents. Some may be unaware or even put off by the technical side of protecting your child online. Educating your child and then safe proofing devices is key. xx
    Kat | Beau Twins recently posted…Are you filling up your happy jar?My Profile

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  2. Lottie Lomas

    I have older boys and it’s a nightmare! I do what I can at home; filters, vigilance, one family computer in a public place – but there are times when I’m out of the house when they are basically free watch whatever they like. They also have smartphones, of course, which is another access point.

    The internet is absolutely blummin amazing, but as parents it puts the weight of the world in terms of responsibility on our shoulders.

    Reply
  3. Laura Evelyn Bee

    The internet is such an amazing thing, but I am often scared as to parents lack of knowledge regarding what their child can actually get access to.
    Great tips and things for parents to consider. x
    Laura Evelyn Bee recently posted…Kangaroo modelling, boots & a 30thMy Profile

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  4. Helen Neale

    This is a really useful post, Vicki. Children are getting younger and younger in their use of the web and they don’t know the pitfalls and perils that become it. Setting safety measures in place can certainly help to protect and constant monitoring by the parent too so they know what their children are viewing.

    Reply
  5. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Really interesting post Vicki, we recently got a tablet and Monkey watches a few youtube videos on it. We are obviously only at the start of the process but have already become aware that when he starts off watching the phonics song, alphabet train or sesame street, it is only a few clicks until he is watching something much less educational. So far that is as bad as it has got but we are very much aware that yet a few more clicks may take him somewhere else entirely. There is a whole host of things to consider isn’t there? xx
    Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) recently posted…Little Miss at 3 monthsMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Really is a lot to consider, it’s a wonderful way for them to learn but a little worrying too, glad you found this useful x

      Reply
  6. Emma T

    I need to reset all of this up for my pc and tablet. YouTube is sorted out, but general family security I need to do via BT or my windows defender.

    Some great tips
    Emma T recently posted…Interview with a 4 year oldMy Profile

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  7. Sian

    Really helpful Vicki. My eldest is only 3 but would spend all day watching videos on YouTube if we let her (we don’t). Slightly alarming that she could get into YouTube on our iPad all by herself before we locked it down and set up a PIN and appropriate controls. I can see us have to be on the ball to keep one step ahead as she gets older and is using the computer for homework etc.
    Sian recently posted…Kids and Valentine’s DayMy Profile

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    • honestmum

      Really scary how capable they are, my little one is the same too. Good reminder to get locks and passwords on to all computers and iPads, thanks lovely!

      Reply
  8. JoyandPops

    Thank you for such a lot of important information. My eldest is 7 and loves to do little projects on the computer using Google to find information. We have some parental controls but I suspect we will need more as time goes on.
    Thanks Xx
    JoyandPops recently posted…5 ways to beat your crazy PMS!My Profile

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  9. Mrs.E

    What an incredibly helpful and important post. Even with a 2 year old I fret about what the future holds, and fear that I’m losing track of how to keep up with technology so how will I ever be able to teach my child how to interact safely. I will revert back to this post in the future to guide me. Thank you Honestmum x
    Mrs.E recently posted…A present that just keeps givingMy Profile

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  10. Mumma McD

    Gosh, this is such important information, and gives me a lot to think about! My kiddies are only 3 and 1.5 yrs, so not doing anything online yet, but from the way they handle my iPad it won’t be long I’m sure. Thanks for some really useful tips!
    xx
    Mumma McD recently posted…The Liebster Award – Mumma McD BlogsMy Profile

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  11. International Elf Service

    Very good post and excellent reminder when schools are insisting on ‘on-line’ homework. So easy for the kids to roam absentmindedly.
    International Elf Service recently posted…Blood Orange & Berbere Spiced Pork TenderloinMy Profile

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