As a side effect of the UK restrictions, everyone is spending much more time online. Not just adults but children too. For parents, this can be worrying on many different fronts. So we are here to help. Here is a list of 7 easy tips to make your child safer online.
Have a conversation about what they do online
A great place to start is encouraging your child to talk about what they do online. Just like you would after a day at school. This reassurance and openness between parent and child can only lead to positive outcomes.
An easy way to start the conversation would be to ask about a game you saw them playing. Ask questions about it, what they like about it or what they find tricky. Keep it light and positive.
If your child begins to talk to you about a site that you think is unsuitable, listen to why they want to be on it and respond accordingly. Do not make it sound like a punishment and reasonably inform them of the risks.
Place the device they are using in a communal area
When your child is online, it is good to place the device in a communal space like a living room or kitchen. This way, you can casually walk past or sit down next to them and see what they are doing. If you see anything come up that you think is not age-appropriate, you can deal with it as soon as it happens.
Research the privacy settings
Many social media sites have many different controls that you can add to your child’s account. For example, Instagram allows you to make your account private.
By making their account private, your child has the power to approve people who are following them so that no one they do not know can start following them.
Instagram also allows parents to restrict what accounts are viable to their child. All you have to do is go into the privacy settings tab. This way is your child can be protected from any accounts that you deem unsafe or with content that you want to restrict.
Check the Age Restrictions
Most social media sites and websites have an age restriction listed. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of which sites your child is on and encourage them to ask you if they can have accounts on different websites.
Retaking Instagram as an example here, the age restriction for this platform is 13-years-old. The same goes for Facebook, Twitter & Snapchat.
Allot an age-appropriate amount of time to be online
Although children need to be online to complete their classes and do homework, there is such a thing as too much time online.
Setting a limit on how much time your children get online each day ensures that they can vary their activities and develop lots of different skills.
Suppose you have children of a variety of ages. In that case, it might be appropriate to vary this amount of time across ages as older children may want more time online to socialise, especially in lockdown.
Use Nicknames or abbreviations
Often children will want to sign up to gaming sites such as Animal Jam and Movie star planet. While these sites are for children, it is important to protect your child here too.
When children make their avatar, they get the chance to choose a username, by using a nickname here gives children their privacy. If they want to find their friends, they have to ask for their nicknames to search for them specifically. No one who does not know them, therefore, will know their real identity. So if they come across anyone with ulterior motives, they cannot find them in real life.
Keep note of their passwords
When your child sets up accounts on the internet, it can be useful to keep track of their passwords. This could be as easy as keeping the passwords and usernames on your phone’s notepad. Or, you could set up a notebook with all the relevant information.
You can now log in and check on their account if you think something unsafe might be happening. The child must be aware that you will check in from time to time, but this is entirely at your discretion.