Monday, 16 September 2013

Internet safety for kids

Since Leon won an iPad from Tate kids, my children have been much more aware of the Internet, gadgets and gaming devices. Even my two year old can quite happily work her way round the iPad. I try to download games I think they will learn from but also ones they will enjoy. Often at the end it gives them an option to upload scores etc. to Facebook or twitter. 

Whilst the younger ones can't read, Leon can. He's asked so many time what facebook is and can he 'get it'. Since he has been able to read so well it’s got me thinking about how I need to keep them safe online. For a start I've told him he can get Facebook when he's 16, another 9 years to go! I really disagree with children having profiles on Facebook and it always shocks me when parents allow it.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one

I've spoken to a few people about what they do to protect their children online, but most people don't seem to know the right approach. Here is some advice I found on Norton’s Learning Centre to get started. 

Although I have never had any problems with my children and the internet, I've heard of plenty of stories about people who have. The only precautions I take is to be with or around them whilst they are using the iPad. When they want to play games on the computer, they are educational games and I sit with them. I am happy for them to use gaming sites to be honest I just usually limit my keyword search to typing 'games for 7 year olds' into Google

I think I need to invest in some sort of security so I am not always hanging over their shoulder making sure they aren't going accessing sites that they’re not meant to have access to or watching videos not suitable for their age group. I don't think it is something they would deliberately, but you just never know what they might click on out of interest or error.

There is a lot of family friendly software out there meant to limit and monitor exactly this.  Although I think most of features and benefits might be more suited for families with older kids, it’s still useful to feel like you’re in the loop with the ability to monitor their keyword search as well as automatically blocking access to apps that are not deemed age appropriate.  Here are a few of the other features and benefits of parental control software:

  • You can set limits on how much time your kids can spend on the computer; including days and times of the day that they can be online.
Time can run away with you so quickly when you are on the computer; this would be a great feature for them (and me!)

  • You can track all the websites your kids visit or attempt to visit, and lets you block specific sites or types of sites.
This is my main worry; that they will click onto sites that they shouldn't be on by accident so I think this is such an important feature.

There are so many more great things especially if you are worried about who your children are talking to or are currently associating with. You can even link up to their phone and see what they have been texting and to whom (should you ever you wish to do so). It also lets you decide the rules with your children, which if you have stroppy teenagers, is a great idea.

What do you think of these parental control features and do you have your own rules and limitations in place already for your children?

*Disclaimer: This was a collaborative PR Post, but all opinions are my own.

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