In a generation that is so consumed with technology and all of its weird and wonderful features, we know how important your children’s safety is. Whether they are stuck in a YouTube hole of the latest toy reviews, exchanging selfies with their friends on Snapchat or trying to avoid homework for a video call; inevitably, most children in this day and age are actively using social media on their latest smart device.
The fast-paced technology of today has allowed children to access a new platform full of opportunities which can aid their growth in learning and enable them to explore new interests. But as technology continues to change, what can you do to ensure your child is staying safe online? We’ve put together some tips and tricks for all parents, regardless of whether you’re a tech wiz or you need some advice on where to start these tips and tools are a guide for all of you Mums and Dads to keep your children safe when using the internet. Follow along with this series of posts this month for parents guide on all things Safety on Socials and get in touch with us on our social media platforms for more.
So parental controls, let’s talk about the whats and hows. These are tools which can be installed onto your children’s devices and your broadband to help you filter and block what your child can access online. If you know what and where your child is searching, you may think parental controls aren’t necessary for your household. However, an increasing amount of innocent searches is exposing children to explicit results and that is where parental controls come in. They can also assist in setting up daily limits on how long your child can spend online, these limits can be separated for each day so your child can enjoy an extra hour of Tik Tok creating on the weekend!
Parental controls can be set up across all devices in your household your child may be using, your mind will be at ease knowing their screen time is safe and secure and here’s what you can enable and how:
Smart Devices & Broadband
The settings menu which is found on all smart devices can allow you to control what your child does and doesn’t have access to. Key things which should be checked when setting up parental controls is the information your child is sharing with others via location settings and access to information.
Free parental controls are provided by the UK’s largest internet providers including BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media as a part of UK Safer Internet Centre. Providers have assembled to produce content which guides you on how to set up these controls.
The majority of games consoles have internet access for your child to connect and play online, in the same way, the settings work on smart devices like mobiles and tablets is how they work on games consoles. Although there is a setting to disable internet use on games consoles, playing online with friends can be a huge part of the game. Settings can be altered for different family members to have their profile showing age-appropriate content.
If you want to allow your child to play online with friends but are worried about strangers being able to contact them, rest assured when parental controls are activated these chat options can be turned off or removed.
For more help on this, read through this from the UK Safer Internet Centre.
Music & TV
Another quick solution to avoid your child being exposed to explicit content is controlling the settings on what can be played and what can not. For those who have smart TV’s which boast playback services like Netflix and Now TV, settings allow you to filter out what is not age-appropriate for your child.
If you find yourself unable to set these yourself, take a look here to see how you can do so quickly and effectively.
Applications & Security
There is no doubt that your child’s iPad is crammed full of an array of games, social media and streaming apps which they play with on their smart devices. Applications can be harder to keep track of as many allow the user to share personal information or talk to others within the app.
Having the safety talk (advice to come later in this series) with your child can also help to keep them safe online, so they know why and what you could be protecting them against. Another risk of apps is in-app purchases, to avoid the dreaded App Store charge on your statement this month! If you’re struggling to get through to your child, you can contact the NSPCC helpline below, 0808 800 5002.
If you have previously set up parental controls whilst connected to your home WiFi provider, the controls will not apply on 4G or public wifi. Although free WiFi feels like a blessing a lot of the time it can be a curse, as it lets the children access any google search they like.
Again, communication is key and talking to your child is where you can establish what they know is and isn’t acceptable whilst searching,
If you are still struggling with any of these points, please get in touch with experts over at the NSPCC on 0808 800 5002.
Stay tuned for the next installment of #SafetyOnSocials where we you can read all about Online Gaming.
Don’t forget to stay in touch on our social media platforms in the meantime to keep the conversation going!