7 Tips to Protect Your Child's Online Identity
Created by Matt Powell Updated on Jan 15, 2020
For children, the internet offers incredible opportunities for learning and entertainment, but parents have good reasons to be concerned about what they’re doing and how much time they spend online. However, there are steps anyone can take to protect their family and moderate children’s online activities without having to resort to drastic measures or spending lots of money. Here we list some of the basic internet safety tips for parents.
How To Make Sure Your Child Is Safe Online?
There are steps anyone can take to protect their family and moderate children’s online activities without having to resort to drastic measures or spending lots of money. Here we list some of the basic internet safety tips for parents.
#1. Talk To Your Child
It’s crucial to be open and honest with children about the potential dangers they could face online, and why you’re taking steps to control or monitor their usage.
Many children have faced unpleasant situations involving bullying and blackmail  where their parents didn’t find out until it was too late. Make sure your children know they can always talk to you about a problem without judgement.
#2. Keep Computers Out of Bedrooms
Until your child is older, you may want to have a rule that computers and other devices can only be used in the common areas of your home so you can keep an eye on them. It may be preferable to get a desktop computer rather than a laptop so it can’t easily be moved around.
#3. Teach Your Child About Security And Privacy
Make sure your children understand why it’s important to keep personal details such as their age, name, address and phone number private. Photos should also be handled very carefully; remind them that once a picture is online it’s practically impossible to control who has a copy or how it’s used.
If they’re interested in getting involved in social media you should be present when they create an account and go through all the privacy controls to ensure they’re not inadvertently broadcasting private information.
You should also explain password security. Passwords should be long, random and unique. To make life easier a password manager can securely store passwords, and most of them include sharing features so you can give them access to a login while still remaining in control.
#4. Don’t Share Important Passwords
Further to the above, never give out the passwords for accessing key accounts, systems or devices such as your Wi-Fi router, Apple ID or Windows login unless you’re happy knowing that they could use these to access devices or accounts or make changes to settings whenever they want.
#5. Use Anti-virus Software
Viruses can not only damage data, but they may also be used to steal private information. Make sure all your computers are protected with an anti-virus software, and keep your operating systems and all software up to date.
#6. Broadband Web Filters
All the major broadband providers now offer free web filtering tools. These can be used to block specific sites or broad categories, and because they’re applied at the network level there’s no need to configure it on every device you own. Once set up, the filtering will work on every computer or device in your household.
The web filters will typically block sites related to the following content:
Drugs, alcohol and tobacco
Pornography and nudity
Suicide and self-harm
Violence and gore
Malware distribution and phishing
Each ISP categorises sites differently so check your provider’s web filter controls to see what type of content is blocked.
You’ll also find options for managing the filters. Again this varies with each ISP, but broadly you’ll be able to blacklist or whitelist sites and control when the filter is activated.
Blacklisting is used to manually block a site which is not included in the filter. Conversely, whitelisting is used to exclude a site from filtering.
Timers can be set to enable or disable the filtering at specific times, so adults in the household won’t be inconvenienced after the children are in bed. There may also be a “homework mode” which blocks distractions like gaming or social media.
#7. Parental Controls
Parental controls are commonly found on all kinds of software and hardware, and it’s worth familiarising yourself with these as they can be a powerful tool. For instance, on iPads, parents are able to disable particular apps and features, and also block websites. iPads also offer various levels of security, which mean you can prevent children from spending money on a credit card linked to the Apple ID while still letting them access the iPad without coming to you (if you wish, you can also set it up to require a password or fingerprint each time it’s unlocked).
On desktop and laptop computers, the user account features can be used to control access. Windows allows you to set an access level for every account, so while your login may be “administrator” level with full access to all settings and files, your children can be set up with lower level access that will prevent them modifying the device, installing new software or opening applications outside of those specifically allowed.
Matt Powell has been a tech writer for magazines and websites since 2002 and Broadband Genie editor since 2012.
Hope this blog was helpful for you as a parent and I would love to hear what measures you have put in place for your child’s cyber safety. Do drop ideas in the comments section below.
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