3 ways to help keep your child safe online

By Maths Doctor Friday, October 17, 2014

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Keeping your child safe online can be a daunting task for parents. While the majority of content your child is exposed to is likely to be harmless, there are some sites containing malicious content that may be worth censoring. It’s also worth considering the prevalence of social networking sites and the effect this may have on your child’s online experience. Outlining ways to help your child enjoy the Internet and make the most out of a fantastic resource can be straightforward if you know the right methods. In order to help you navigate the world of online safety, we have outlined three ways to help keep your child safe. To see our full list of tips and recommendations, take a look at our extensive new resource here.

1. Educate Your Child About Internet Security

One of the best ways to ensure your child is safe online is educating them about proper online behaviour and appropriate practices. This process of education needn’t a one-off conversation. Rather, ongoing communication between you and your child can help you understand how they are using the Internet, and thus how you can help them stay safe.

Asking questions such as those outlined below, allows you to get a better feel for your child’s online behaviour, but it also encourages your child to analyse their own online presence and image potential situations that could occur online and therefore consider how they can independently ensure their own safety.

  • Which websites do you enjoy visiting the most? What do you do on these websites?
  • Who do you talk with the most whilst online? Do you know them in real life?
  • Did you have to register for any of the websites you visit? What information did they ask for and what information did you give them?
  • What would you do if you were faced with a problem online?

According to a recent survey by The Independent; "one in four children aged between 6 and 12 have shared personal information online with strangers...including their full name, address, password and images".

This worrying statistic indicates the importance of education in online behaviour, and allowing your child to understand what is appropriate and what is not when online.

2. Introduce your child to child-friendly search engines

This a great way to ensure your child is using the Internet in a safe environment. The search-engines’ settings filter out content that is not deemed child-appropriate and you can also add your own settings to the search engines to further safeguard your child. Some examples of child-friendly search engines include:

• KidRex • Safe Search Kids • Swiggle • GoGooligans • AOL Kids • Cyber Sleuth Kids

Alternatively, Google also offers a SafeSearch option, which allows you to select or unselect ‘Filter explicit results’.

3.  Understand Social Networking Sites

According to a recent survey

  • 95% of 12 to 17 years olds use the Internet and 81% of 12 to 17 year olds use social media,
  • Over 50% of adolescents log in to social networking sites more than once a day,
  • Although many social networking sites do not allow users under 13 years of age to create an account, 21% of children under 13 still manage to use social networking sites,
  • 38% of children aged between 8 and 12 use Facebook

With these figures set to continue to rise, it is becoming increasingly important to highlight the importance staying safe on social networking sites. Many children are in danger of sharing too much of their personal information across social networks without considering the people who can access these private details. Consequently, it is increasingly important for parents to teach children about the difference between real life and their online activities as well as advising your children how to restrict the information which they share online. It is crucial that you explain to you children that, just because they talk to someone on social networking sites, that does not mean the person to whom they are talking is who they claim to be. As a parent, there are a couple of ways you can enhance the safety of your child online in a couple of simple steps:

  • Let your child know that they should keep their passwords for social media sites to themselves, and not to list their full name, email address, phone number or home address on any of their social networking profiles,
  • Report any online abuse as soon as it occurs. Moreover, inform your child not to respond to any abusive comments which they receive online,
  • Implement your computer's default Internet safety features with regards to emails and social networks. These measures will ensure that your child can only be contact by users, which they know, as well as equipping them with the ability to block any unwanted messages from suspicious or offensive users.
  • As a provider of online tuition, Maths Doctor is acutely aware of the importance of imposing security measures to ensure nothing detracts from a student’s lesson enjoyment and education. In order to achieve this focus, we ensure that all of our tutors are fully CRB checked, we offer a digital recording of the lesson and protect our customers information.

Undoubtedly the most effective way of ensuring your child’s safety online is through ongoing communication. You should also ask your child what they would do if they encountered any problems whilst they were online. Discussing the various options available to your child, such as showing them how to block or report online issues, will enable them to protect themselves. For more information on online safety, please take a look at our latest resource for the latest tips to keep your child safe online.

Categories: Onlinesafety