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Keeping your kids safe online

Keeping your kids safe online

Kids can get a real kick out of surfing the web.

Funny cat videos, games that let you build whatever your imagination desires, endless chats with friends — what’s not to love?! But it can also be a wild place, so it’s important to make sure that the kids are alright, and armed with the tools and knowledge that will keep them safe.

Lucky for us, there’s already a huge range of resources to help make it a little easier to keep kids safe online.

Let’s break down how to help keep web-surfing kid friendly.

There are lots of things you can do to help keep your kids safe online.

Run them through the basics

Kids are, as expected, getting online more than ever — ninety-seven per cent of households with kids under fifteen have access to the internet, and they’re using it for social networking, entertainment and educational activities.

A few simple e-safety guidelines are a great way to get started, helping kids to get their head around what to do (and not do) when exploring the wonderous World Wide Web.

Handy tips to pass along can include:

  • Don’t give out any private or personal information to anyone online (think: addresses, phone numbers).

  • Stranger danger isn’t just for the playground — it applies online too. Don’t engage with those who you don’t know, and reach out if someone is hassling you for info like your address, school, phone number or photos.

  • Don’t share , even with friends.

  • Sharing personal photos online with friends and family can be great, but be mindful of , where they’re being uploaded, and who has access to them.

  • Remember that what’s posted online, stays online forever!

We’ve got a bunch of other useful articles in this space, like tips on , and .

Keep the convo open

It’s super important that kids know they can reach out if they’re unsure about something they’ve seen or said, or need to suss out if something is a red flag.

Keeping an open and honest discussion about what they’re doing online and who they’re talking to help to build that trust. Ask about their online experiences (‘who have you been chatting with?’, ‘what have you been looking up?’) on the reg to set the expectation that this is normal.

Reassurance that whatever they’re experiencing online can be shared, and will be heard with empathy and understanding can go a long way.

Set some rules

Are some sites a flat-out no-go zone? Is 8 pm the cut-off for screen time?

Introducing a few around web use can help guide the path to a better relationship with the internet.

You can even use certain devices to help make these rules a little harder to break. For example, some modems (*ahem* ) offer the ability to limit the times certain devices can get online, and what sites they can access.

This means you can switch the kid’s laptop off from social media at an appropriate time to ensure homework is done and sleep is achieved. Score.

HOT TIP: We can all benefit from some web-surfing guidelines. Consider an adult’s version of the screen time rules to help you rein in your own late-night scrolling and demonstrate gold-star internet behaviour.

Make use of the tools

Taking away the TV remote doesn’t have quite the same effect these days. Instead, you’ll need to have your virtual toolbelt at the ready.

There are heaps of platform-specific controls that you can utilise to help provide kids a safer place to connect, learn and play.

Web browsing

Google have an application called ‘’ (available on both Android and iOS) which helps parents manage the content their children access. It’s important to note that this doesn’t directly filter out any content, but does help with things like managing unwanted apps, limiting screen time, and location tracking.

The Chrome browser also has a ‘’ function enabled by default, which will help try to limit access to potentially dangerous sites. However, this won’t help block out a wide range of unwanted content, so some other options could be looking into third-party browser extensions to block unwanted pages or using a Google account-linked app.

The Safari web browser does also have some simple parental controls built-in to block specific websites. On iOS devices, head to Settings à General à Restrictions.

Apple devices

Apple iOS devices have built-in parental controls, which you can learn more about .

These restrictions can be managed directly via the device Settings. Here, you’ll be able to block out specific apps and prevent content listed as explicit from being shown. It’ll also let you limit apps from accessing things like photos.

Video

YouTube has a separate ‘’ app that provides content curated and aimed at children, while also providing a few options to allow blocking of specific videos or channels, timers (to set limits on screen time!) and keeping tabs on viewing history.

The primary YouTube app also has a built-in ‘Restricted’ mode that can help filter out potentially inappropriate mature content. It can be toggled by logging into You Tube à Settings à General à ‘Restricted Mode’.

For everyone who likes to binge on Netflix, the streaming service also has an option to create a ‘Kid’ profile that will only show child-friendly content and block out mature-rated shows. To enable, head to Profile settings à Add a new profile à Tick the ‘Kid’ option. Alternatively, you can also choose whether mature shows and movies are allowed for each profile when editing them.

Conclusion

These are just a couple of the ways to help kids safely get the lay of the internet land. If you’ve come across any great apps for helping keep the online experience a safe one, feel free to .