Keeping Your Child Safe on the Internet

This been provided by BullGuard Internet Security who provide an all in one antivirus and internet security solution.

To keep your child safe when they go online, there are various steps that you can take.  Some of these are things you can do to stop your child from having access to things you do not wish them to see, and others involve talking to them about what is and isn’t safe to do or talk about online, or encouraging them to use one site instead of another.

Parental controls:
Computers, mobile phones, and games consoles where you can access the internet have parental controls.  These allow you to create rules that will control which websites your child can and can’t visit, how long they can stay on line and what words they can and can’t search for.  Different equipment will allow you to do different things, but generally parental controls allow you to block certain websites and e-mail addresses by adding them to filter lists.  You can then password protect these lists so that your child can’t change them.

Some internet service providers also have child safety measures that they offer, so it’s also a good idea to talk to them to find out what they can provide.

Talk to your child about internet safety:
Sit with your child and talk to them about why you are setting these restrictions. Explain to them the sort of sites that you think are suitable and why some others aren’t.  Help them to understand the dangers that are out there. If they know why they need to stay within the boundaries that you set they are more likely to do so, explain in the same way as you would when setting boundaries for where they can play and who with when they’re outside.

Stress to your child the importance of keeping personal information safe.  Teach your child what is and isn’t acceptable for them to talk about with people online and that some people may not be who they seem to be.  Make sure they understand that if anything happens that they’re not sure about then you are there to listen and you won’t be cross with them. If they accidentally go onto a website that’s not suitable, they should tell you so.  This way you can delete it from the computer’s history and add it to your list of unsuitable websites.

Introduce them to child friendly websites and search engines as these are designed to filter out sites and content that is unsuitable for children to see.

Learn ‘how to’ for yourself:
One of the best ways of keeping your child safe is by learning about the internet for yourself.  If you don’t know how it works, or what threats exist, it will be much harder to know what to block your child from seeing or doing while on there.  There are lots of courses designed for adults to help them learn more about computing and the internet, many of which are free.

Keep your eye on things:
Keep the computer that connects to the internet in a family room with the screen facing out into the room where you can see what’s happening.  This way you can see if they are using a chat room or forum, who they are talking to, and what they are saying.

Use the ‘history’ on the computer to monitor which sites your child is accessing and check them for yourself. If you see something you don’t like, you can then block it and/or talk to your child about it.

If you are worried about your child accessing the internet when you are not there, then remove the ability for them to do so, by password protecting the internet access so that they can only access with your permission.