Young people are now spending more time online than ever before and with the summer holidays fast approaching and children’s free time increasing, it’s our responsibility to ensure that they are kept safe when using the internet.
Smoothwall recommend following these simple steps:
- Talk – this is a good chance for parents to get to know their child’s habits online – what websites/apps they are using, how regularly they are using them, why they enjoy them, who else is using them etc. Showing interest and having positive conversations about the internet is essential, so that if anything happened online that worried or upset your child, they would feel confident in telling you. This quiz from the UK Safer Internet Centre is a great way to see if your child can make kind choices when faced with dilemmas online.
- Check virus protection – ensure that all devices have up to date software that protects against viruses and other malware.
- Allow access to the internet within the family space – we do not recommend that children have access to devices in individual bedrooms.
- Use Safe searching – most search engines, including Google and Youtube, have a safe search facility under the settings menu which can be enabled to prevent access to inappropriate material.
- Enable privacy settings on websites and apps – it’s important that all social media accounts and apps are set to the highest privacy settings to prevent unknown people from viewing or contacting the user. Often the default setting for these types of accounts is public, meaning that everyone can see content including pictures and videos.
- Consider using Parental Controls on devices – parental controls can be applied to devices including laptops, smartphones and games consoles, and can limit the time the device can be used, whether apps/games can be downloaded and can restrict the internet access.
- Disable the geolocation settings on all devices – when you post an image to social media, you might be posting your exact location via the default ‘geotagging’ data. Disable your phone’s geolocation feature by going into your location settings and don’t proactively tag your location.