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Eight ways to empower children to use the internet safely

Tue, 30th Apr 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Kids are quickly becoming household experts in technology. They spend up to 33 hours a week online and are often described as free tech support for their parents, called upon to solve all sorts of tech troubles.

They can download a movie that reached the cinemas yesterday, find funny cat videos, and talk to friends on the other side of the world, all in a matter of seconds. Despite this increased digital savviness, kids are not the experts in viruses, cyberbullying, unwanted contact by strangers, data privacy and inappropriate content. As more and more kids are finding their way onto social media sites, these cyber risks aren't going away.

Although the internet does offer a fantastic platform for inquisitive minds to explore and grow, there are many risks associated with being online. These risks are a few of the big issues that parents and kids need to be aware of. There is no room for ignorance – parents need to explain the dangers of being online to their kids and how to make their online experience a safe and balanced one. This may seem an intimidating task, but with the eight tips below parents can turn the internet from a scary place to a safe one.

  1. Establish ground rules

Establishing ground rules for posting online is essential to keeping children safe online. They may not entirely understand the consequences of posting personal information but making sure your children know never to post any content that exposes their school or home address is imperative. Help your kids understand that what they post online is important and permanent.

  1. Install safeguard technology

Setting up technology such as Trend Micro's Home Network Security can give you visibility into the sites they visit and provides peace of mind that harmful and inappropriate websites will be blocked. Another tip is to bookmark a list of safe sites that your child enjoys and show them how they can easily gain access to these.

  1. Communication is key

Have a conversation with your child on the potential problems they might encounter online. Make sure your children know they should come to you straight away with any issue they have online. It's also important to not only focus on the dangers of going online but also communicate that the Internet can be a fun and powerful source of information for kids.

  1. Manage ‘screen time'

Allocate daily ‘screen time' for your kids. Restricting the amount of time on devices means your child has a healthy balance of fun and healthy activities – both on and offline. It's therefore vital for parents to be vigilant when implementing screen time to keep their children healthy and balanced. Products like Home Network Security can help you manage kids screen time easily.

  1. Make your passwords secure

The most commonly overlooked online safety feature is password security. Make sure your children understand not to use their name or birthday in their password and not to share their password with anyone. Remind them to use a different, secure password for every account as this makes it much harder for criminals to hack into their account.

  1. Don't engage with strangers

It is becoming more and more common for kids to become ‘friends' with complete strangers online. It is important to inform your children about the importance of not accepting friend requests from strangers. Make sure they know to come to you or another trusted adult immediately if they are contacted by a stranger online and to never meet up with people they have met online.

  1. An extra layer of security

To ensure your children are the only ones accessing their accounts, two-factor authentication can be added as an extra layer of security. This involves multiple pieces of information to verify their identity when accessing an account. This means if a hacker was able to get their username and password, they could not log in without another piece of information, like a security key. Establishing this will make sure that your child is the only one able to login to their accounts.

  1. Be aware of your child's online activities

Online risks to children can sometimes eventuate because parents are unaware of what their kids get up to online. By doing your research, you can minimise the potential risks your child will face. For example, keep an eye on your kids browsing history – this will give you an insight into the sites they are visiting. Once again Home Network Security is a solution that will allow you to seamlessly manage and monitor what your kids do online.

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