The internet has changed the world as we know it. It offers endless opportunities, and has altered the way we communicate forever. But this ever-growing freedom comes with its own risks, and the need to protect children and young people from inappropriate material online is a concern for parents and carers. It’s a tricky issue, and something we’re often asked about at Priority IT.
There are numerous devices that connect to the internet, including games consoles, tablets, smartphones, televisions – and, of course, computers.
So, how do you go about making sure your children stay safe on the internet?
Steps to stay safe
The first thing to do is look at your router. Many new routers have parental controls that enable you to specify categories, then block those categories you don’t want your children to have access to.
I recently tested Netgear’s new range of routers with parental controls, and found them to work very well – so much so that I’ve started using one on my own home network, to protect my two girls.
Of course, no filter is perfect. If a website hasn’t been categorised – or has been incorrectly categorised – it may slip through the net.
Check settings on phones and other devices that connect independently of your household router, as these won’t be filtered.
Explain to your children the importance of not adding strangers on messaging services and social networks, as people aren’t always who they appear to be.
Cyberbullying: what it is, and how to avoid it
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through any sort of technology – from mobile devices to social networks. It involves individuals – sometimes known as trolls – saying abusive or controversial things to provoke a reaction from their victim.
Most social sites enable you to report abuse, and to block individuals who are making negative or hurtful comments. Encourage your children to talk to you if they think they’re being bullied.