5 Tips to Keep Your Children Safe Online

In today’s technology-driven world, it comes as no surprise that the number of children using tablets and other mobile devices increases with each passing day. Depending on your age, you might remember the warnings you received about sharing too much personal information before you went online for the first time. Social media sites now ask you to share that same information every day. 

As the parent of a young child or a teenager, you may worry about what they get up to on the internet when you're not keeping a watchful eye on them. Here are 5 ways you can help to keep your children safe online: 

1) Parental controls: Preventing children from having 24/7 access to the internet will allow you to control the amount of time they spend online every day. If your household internet rules are met with resistance, you can download and use an app that sets a timer for you. When your children reach the maximum limit, the app will shut down the internet and prevent them from accessing it. 

Many internet service providers now offer parental controls that you can install on any device that connects to the internet. You can even install blocking software on all the televisions in your home to keep your children from viewing adult content.

2) Set restrictions: Software packages are available that feature limitation settings. Some packages allow you to restrict what websites your children can visit. You can also add filters that limit what they can view. For example, you can add a string of words and phrases. If the software detects a child attempting to visit a site that uses one of those words, it will block access to the page. Often, the software lets you create multiple profiles. This allows adults to freely reign to the internet but limits what children can do online. 

3) Monitor YouTube video viewing: It is advisable to not let children watch YouTube on their own. While it may be tempting to keep your little ones entertained by letting them watch their favourite videos while you’re out for dinner or in the car for a long time, allowing them to access YouTube unsupervised for a lengthy time can be unwise. There have been news stories in the past about YouTube videos that have made it past the website’s safety algorithms. 

4) Advise children to not share personal information: Children should be advised to not share photos of themselves or personal information online, such as where they go to school or where they live. 

Although you might worry more about what your young children do, it's equally important that you consider any teenagers in your home. Nearly 40% of teenagers today admit that they lied about their ages online. While some lied because they wanted to use websites that restrict access to adults only, others lied when chatting with people online or when using dating sites. 

5) Talk about it: One of the most important things that parents can do is simply talk with their children. Make sure that your teenagers know about the dangers they face. You may want to talk about the threats that can arise from using the internet, such as cyberbullying. You could also talk about sexting and some of the dangers it can bring. 

For more information about how to protect your child on the internet, take a look at VPN Vanguard’s Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Child on the Internet.

Steve Ongaro is the primary writer for the VPN Vanguard website and has a wealth of knowledge about cybersecurity and privacy protection.

Do your concerns go beyond internet access controls and into the realm of online shopping? Take a look at Sainsbury's Money Matters' blog post on Shopping Safely Online for some top tips on how to stay safe when making purchases online.

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