Safer Internet Day 2019
These days, the internet is a vast well of information and can facilitate millions of connections between all kinds of people: there are a bunch of websites and apps that facilitate all this, like Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few. On the other hand, the ease at which at the internet can be accessed and the lack of filters presents plenty of opportunities for users — especially children — to be manipulated or be exposed to some generally bad stuff. Cyberbullying in particular can have an adverse effect on kids’ self-esteem.
Last month we were observed Safer Internet Day and today we would like to do our part to raise awareness of the more dangerous parts of the web. We especially want to encourage parents to make an effort in ensuring their kids’ well being as they browse online. Here are a few steps you can take:
Have a Conversation
For many kids, the internet is a convenient part of their lives: they can use it for expression, playing games, or just keeping in touch with friends. Children can be tight-lipped about how they are feeling — perhaps they don’t know how they are putting themselves at risk or maybe they simply don’t know how or what to ask. It’s important to have a conversation with your child about what they enjoy doing online, about who they can talk to when they need help, and the steps you both can take to make sure the internet is a fun and safe space to go.
Now there are a few ways of keeping your kids out of danger online, parental controls typically being the most effective. As well as protecting kids from negative outside influences, these filters take the responsibility out of your hands (with your own input, of course), ensuring their safety and giving you peace of mind. Parental controls come in several forms, such as apps or devices with limited functionality. A lot of these systems also keep track of your child’s activity in case you want to keep an eye on them or change the way the controls filters the web.
Safety Apps and Programs
Every device is different, but there usually will be an option to activate parental controls already included onboard. However if you are looking for a specific method of filtering not covered by your default settings, there are a number of apps that can fill in any blind spots you might have found. For example, some apps can allow you to set bedtime or homework timers or ‘safe zones’ — a function that tracks your child’s device and notifies you when they leave a designated area on the map. Try shopping around for apps like Qustodio, Spyrix, Family Time, Net Nanny, etc: They all function similarly, but one could be just what you’re looking for!
Devices for Kids
Another option would be to give your child a device that has restricted access to apps and functions — tablets that are designed for kids to use safely — they work just as well as normal devices, the difference being that the parental controls are baked into them, like an Amazon Kindle Kids Edition. You might also consider a router that monitors and blocks websites for specific users on your network.
If you’re interested in learning more about Safer Internet Day, check out this link to the organisation’s page to help you get started. From there you navigate through the rest of the site to fill any other gaps in your knowledge.