The internet is a wonderful resource for education and entertainment. However, there is also a lot of content online that is not suitable for a young mind and as a parent, you have to take responsibility for minimizing your child’s exposure to this content. Until recently, there was little guidance for parents when it came to monitoring their child’s activity online.
However, this has changed with government intervention, internet service providers and colocation hosters in the U.K taking a more proactive role in educating parents and providing them with the tools they need to secure their home connections. This means that there is no excuse for parents anymore.
Keep Devices Out in the Open
The simplest precaution that any parent can take is to keep internet accessible devices out in the open and in rooms where you are able to monitor what is being viewed. This is particularly important for young children where it could be beneficial to surf the web with a parent. This allows you to monitor their internet usage and turn what can be an isolated activity into a more sociable one.
As your children get older, it will be harder to control their internet access habits and this is when parental controls on the router will come in handy. These controls will limit the material that is viewable on the internet connection. Most service providers will have parental controls you can see and you can find information on how to use them on the provider’s website.
Ensure Parental Control in Place
If your children have mobile devices that can access the internet, you should contact your provider to ensure that parental controls are in place. If your internet provider does not have parental controls, there are a number of free services that you can use. These services will generally protect every device in your home and you can apply specific settings to certain devices.
While there are services that help protect your children from inappropriate content, there are other aspects to keeping your child safe online that you need to know about. This will include safe online behaviour which you need to ensure your children understand. This will include not letting other people know your passwords, not giving out personal information online such as email addresses, phone numbers and the name of their school as well as taking care when opening files that come from people they do not know of trust.
Ensure Your Children Understand the Dangers
When your children interact with other people online, whether this is in a chat room, by email, on social media or through an in-game communication system, there is a risk to their safety. This is why you need to ensure that your children know that they have to have permission from you before they arrange to meet with anyone they have been talking to online. They should also understand that you can never tell if someone is being 100% truthful online.
You also need to ensure your children know that they should treat people on the internet in the same way they do in real life. Being rude and hurtful is not okay simply because it is done online. They should also know that if anyone is making them uncomfortable online, they should talk to you or a teacher.
In the past, it was possible to stop our children from seeing inappropriate material by ensuring that they did not watch TV after a certain time. Things are more complicated now and the internet creates a lot of problems, but you do have the tools available to overcome them.