Surfing The Net Safely: 6 Tips To Protect Your Family Online
How can children stay safe online?
Staying safe online is vital for your financial, practical and emotional safety. As well as protecting yourself online, it’s essential that you take steps to keep family members safe online too. Children and young people, in particular, can be exposed to inappropriate content when they’re surfing the net, so you’ll want to make sure that their online activities are restricted.
SafeWebPlus helps to ensure that you and your family are able to protect your privacy and increase your safety when you’re using the net. With helpful tips designed to protect younger web users, we can ensure that your computers and devices don’t put your children in danger.
1. Limiting search results
Restricting content is an easy way to limit what children can view online. Easy to implement, you can ensure that young people aren’t exposed to any inappropriate websites when they’re online.
Simply change the settings on your preferred search engine so that inappropriate content is blocked. Often referred to as ‘SafeSearch’, this means that sites aimed at 18+ users or sites with graphic images and potentially harmful content is completely blocked.
Remember – changing your search engine settings on one device won’t automatically change the settings on other devices in your home. If you have a laptop and a tablet, for example, you’ll need to modify your search settings on both devices so that children can browse the net safely.
2. Teaching the importance of online privacy
Educating children about online privacy is, perhaps, the most effective tool when it comes to staying safe online. Often, young people don’t realise how accessible their content is or how it can be stored for months or years to come.
If your children use social networks, for example, you should ensure that their profiles are made private so that they can’t be accessed by anyone. Many networks allow you to limit profile visibility to existing online friends, meaning that strangers aren’t able to view your content.
Similarly, enforce strict rules about uploading content, such as photos, and ensure your children understand why this is important. If a teenager uploads a photo to Facebook, for example, they may not realise that Facebook can use the image as they see fit. In addition to this, they may be unaware of how easy it is for someone to save, modify or copy their picture.
By discussing the importance of online safety with younger family members, you can ensure that they are aware of the potential dangers. Read our guide on how to stay anonymous online by clicking HERE.
3. Put a stop to cyber bullying
Ensure teenagers are aware of the impact that cyberbullying can have. Whilst they may not intend to hurt another child’s feelings, content can be shared quickly and it doesn’t take long for an unkind comment or photo to go viral.
With many teens using social networks without any supervision, it’s often a good idea to create your own profile and ask to be added to their network. By keeping an eye on their activity, you can ensure that they aren’t being bullied and that they’re not engaging in any inappropriate communications.
4. Restricting internet use
Limit access to the net and monitor what your children are doing online. Many parents don’t realise that their router settings can be changed to restrict internet use but this is an extremely effective way of keeping your children safe.
Preventing young people from getting online when you’re not with them or stopping them from accessing the net at inappropriate times is easy to do. You can simply set the router to disconnect at a specific time or change the settings so that only certain devices are connectable.
If you want to use the internet when your children are in bed, for example, you can maintain your connection but prevent their devices from being able to access your router. With most router settings available via a web browser, you simply need to use the login details provided by your router manufacturer to modify the settings.
5. Use antivirus software to protect your kids and your hardware
Install antivirus software so that your children can’t inadvertently install harmful content. Unfortunately, it’s easy to download viruses, trojans and malware when you’re online and children may not be able to identify potentially dangerous downloads as easily as adults.
Often, viruses are designed to look like standard programs, so it’s easy for children to be fooled. An update request claiming to be from Windows may look real but it could be from an unknown or unverified source.
Purchasing dedicated antivirus and antimalware software is a great way to prevent anything dangerous from being downloaded or installed on your computers. With many programs allowing you to install them on more than one device, you can ensure that your entire home network is protected when you use antivirus software.
6. Use parental controls
Make use of inbuilt parental controls if you want to keep your children safe online. Whilst many mobile devices have these controls built into the settings, you can also purchase additional software if you choose to. Net Nanny or Norton Family are just two examples of software which can help you to restrict and/or monitor your child’s internet use. Once installed, you’re safe in the knowledge that your children can only access the websites you’ve specified.
Don’t forget – keeping your child safe online involves keeping up-to-date with changes to the web. If you understand the potential dangers of surfing the net, you’ll be able to teach your family about them too.
To find out more about keeping your children safe online, why not signing to our newslatter today?