9 March 2017

How to help your kids keep safe online?


Keeping my children safe online is something I have been thinking more and more as my daughter is growing up. She will be one of first truly digital natives. She is growing up with technology I could not even properly imagine when I was a teen. She is already using YouTube like a pro, searching for Easter egg and Paw Patrol videos in bed, 6AM, while I try nod... 

So when Kaspersky got in touch about their new product I got thinking about it all and wrote this post in collaboration with Kaspersky Safe Kids

toddler girl watching a mobile film

toddler girl holding a mobile phone

toddler girl sitting on bed watching a mobile film


I first started using internet back in the 90's. Everyone who was a teen at that time remembers the feeling of dread when sneaking downstairs to use the family computer at night, and the dial up internet screeches... And everyone would also remember the infamous acronym - ASL. The chat rooms with walls of text. The first Geocities website monstrosities we built to talk about, well, not quite sure anymore... 

Now it feels quite different. Kids have access to internet in ways I could not have imagined as a child. And the internet is, by and large, much bigger and containing much more of the "bad stuff". Or perhaps not more in proportion, but the bad stuff certainly feels easier to access. A click away on a forum, or a sidebar ad on a site, it is all there. As an adult I am pretty good at just ignoring that but as a kid I am not sure I would have been.

Kaspersky recently conducted a survey in Europe with over 5,000 kids aged 10-15 year. Of these kids, two thirds said they had heard bad language online, a third said they had witnessed violence on internet, and a quarter had seen pornography online. At that age the worst I came to see was some icky sex chat on IRC.

toddler girl watching a film online on mobile

mobile phone on knees of a toddler

little girl watching a mobile phone film


I am a strong believer in that keeping your kids safe online is all about teaching them. Teaching them to be wary of sharing too much information. Teaching them to be savvy when speaking with people that are not real life friends and family. Teaching them not to click on just any old link. Teaching them that they can always come and have a chat with your parents if they find something weird or uncomfortable.   

Alongside that, I can certainly see the appeal in an app that helps parents help their kids navigate internet safely (even when you are snoozing...).  I like the idea of giving kids independence in using internet, while still keeping it safe and controlled. As they get older, they get more and more freedoms and less and less supervision in all areas of life, internet included of course. But in those first few years of using internet, when they don't fully comprehend what is and what isn't a wise move, the Kaspersky app could really help. 

I'm quite liking the ability to set timelines on usage too - knowing as an adult how hard it is to peel yourself away from the screen!


downloading kaspersky safe kids mobile app

kaspersky safe kids app on phone



My daughter is still too young to have her own devices, but come a couple of birthdays I am sure Santa's sack might be bulging with some electrical items... And then it will be time for some conversation, setting boundaries and making sure they are safe online.

I don't know how she will feel about it all at that time, but perhaps she will be quite similar to these kids in the below video. These kids filmed for the video were asked questions like what was the best thing about internet and what was the worst things about internet, and gosh, aren't they just so cute going about their answers!





So yes, conversation, boundaries and a little help on the way. That will be our recipe for internet safety once my daughter gets to that age.


Do your kids use internet? How would you keep them safe?

You might also like: Publishing photos of my child online - why I am OK with it



3 comments:

  1. Really important post. I'm thinking of hugely limiting online use in the week for my kids, going down to an hour a week x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yours are quite young still so don't really need to use it too much. I will probably also limit internet a fair bit when my daughter is younger - it is good to get out there and do stuff rather than watch stuff.

      Delete
  2. It is a big responsibility of parents and guardians to protect kids when they are online, so they monitor what children are doing and also need to know about using parental control techniques that prevents direct access to adult related or violence related stuff on the web space. Also, teach them how to use the internet, and maintain communication with friends and family, without getting into trouble.

    ReplyDelete

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