There’s no avoiding the internet in this day and age; almost every household has access to broadband, and the amount of content designed for children – from educational sites to videos and games – is ever increasing. But are your children really safe when they’re online? Are they being exposed to content that they should not see, speaking with people who they do not know, or risking damaging your computer with the download of viruses and malware? Follow our top tips to help you ensure that your children are always safe when browsing:
1. Speak to them about online dangers
Chatting to your child regularly about the dangers they can face online can raise their awareness of what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and will help them stay safe.
2. Be wary of social networking
If they have a presence on Facebook, Twitter or another social networking site, make sure that their profile is as private as possible, and that they are only speaking with people they actually know.
3. Use parental controls
Your internet service provider and your computer will both have settings that you can change that can restrict not only the type of content that your child is able to see, but also the amount of time that they are able to spend online.
4. Install decent antivirus software
While it may be obvious to you when a site, link or email is potentially harmful, it may not be the same for your children. Good antivirus software can ensure that no viruses or malware are downloaded by mistake – and you’ll also find software out there that includes parental control options to ensure that your computer and children are both well-protected.
5. Agree boundaries
If your child is spending time online, you can’t watch them the entire time. Make sure they know which sites they are allowed to visit, what they are allowed to do and say online, and how long they can spend on the internet each time, and check the age ratings of any games they wish to play.
6. Explore the internet together
If your child’s fairly new to the internet, sit down with them and ask them what they’d most like to use the internet for. By exploring what the world wide web has to offer together, you’ll not only be able to help educate them, but will be able to enjoy some quality time together too.