Safer Internet Day is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. This year's theme is "Together for a Better Internet" and to celebrate this, we're sharing some top tips from Webwise on keeping your kids safe on the internet.
It is never too early to think about your child’s safety online. If you are a parent of a young child who is just starting to discover the online world, there are a few things to consider:
1. Talk about Internet Safety with your Child
Have a conversation with your child on some of the important things to watch out for when going online for the first time. Young children will not be aware of the dangers, so it is very important to have a talk about who they talk to online and about sharing personal information online.
2. Use Parental Controls
Most internet technologies have built-in controls that allow you to limit the amount of time your child can spend online, restrict their access to adult content, and switch off functions like shopping and chatting. Filtering controls are particularly useful at preventing young children from accidentally encountering content that might bother them.
3. Disable In-App Purchases
Many apps and games offer in-app purchases giving user’s additional game functionality, additional points/bonuses which children can easily purchase without even realising. You can switch off in-app purchases using your phone/device settings.
4. Activate Safe Search
Help minimise the risk of your child coming across inappropriate content in response to search queries by activating safe search in your search engine.
5. Agree on what to do when things go wrong
We recommend that you speak to your child about what to do if they come across something on the internet that bothers them. This could involve closing the laptop lid, or turning off the screen, and coming to get you.
This comes in handy in particular when it comes to memes or Internet "challenges" that may pass parents by, such as the Momo challenge. Instilling this practice in your children will help you keep them safe.
6. Set Up a Family Email
Set up a family email address that your children can use when signing up to new games and websites online.
7. Play it Safe
For young children, we would recommend parents choose safe and appropriate games for their child to play online. Most games should have a PEGI rating to check what if they are age appropriate, parents should also check if a game allows for player interaction and if there is a safe chat mode.