The Internet is a place filled with so much knowledge and entertainment, that you would not be able to come close to seeing even half of it in your lifetime. Everybody should have access to this wonderful tool of information, from young ones to older ones alike. A massive amount of the information available is obviously not age appropriate for younger ones. How do you keep your children safe online?
With the advent of Internet enabled devices, such as tablets, smartphones and media players that provide a variety of activities and education opportunities for young people, just how important is it to be aware of what these devices are capable of? How you can communicate with your child to assist them in using this technology in both a safe and a positive manner?
Basically it comes down to 3 steps for parents to follow:
1. Understand the capabilities of the technology the child is using. Most, if not all of the devices used today can access the Internet.
2. Understand the possible risks of different online activities and how you as a parent can support your child to be safe online. Such as the ins and outs of social networking, i.e. not meeting up with people they have only met online.
3. Talk with your child about using their device safely and responsibly and agree a set of boundaries, like what websites it is ok and not ok to visit.
There are lots of different things to consider when allowing your child to have access to the Internet. How do I ensure the web content my child sees is appropriate? How can access filtering protocols on my home network? What are Apps? What is social networking? How does Facebook work? What can I do to find out more about Cyber-bullying? How can my child access music, films and TV using their device? What should I do if my child has seen something inappropriate? And so on and so forth.
It all comes down to common sense; you need to work out logically all of the questions you need answers to and then locate that information, before you make your decisions about what to do. Do some research folks!
The following information and websites will give you a good start on where to find information that will be helpful to you as a parent:
For practical advice for keeping your child safe online the NSPCC website is very informative. For parental resources and a myriad of information about keeping your child safe online, Stay Safe Online is a good place to look. Another similar website with lots of information is ikeepsafe.
If you do come across some illegal content, such as images of child abuse, you can report this to the Internet Watch Foundation in the UK or elsewhere in the world at InHope. If you suspect that your child has been the subject of an inappropriate sexual contact you should report this to Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, and internationally at the virtual global taskforce.
I hope this quick guide has given you a little insight into how to keep your child safe online.
[Image via pctechmag]