As the Internet is gaining more and more users, the number of potential online threats is growing, as well. While larger companies and small businesses are hacker’s top targets, individual users can also become victims of such attacks.
Families with children are among the most sensitive groups online. Because of that, all family members within the same family need to introduce certain rules to protect themselves on the Web. In this article, you can find out more about the key technical elements for families to stay safe online.
Restrict children’s access
Today, children want to be independent from an early age in many aspects of their lives. Many kids get their own room before the age of five. From a psychological point of view, this kind of separation is beneficial.
But when it comes to online security, letting kids do whatever they want with computers and gadgets in their room is wrong.
Because of that, parents need to restrict children’s access to modern technology. This doesn’t mean that your kids should have no screen time at all. For instance, kids aged 2-5 may spend up to one hour before screens, as recommended by pediatricians. During that time, they may watch TV or filtered content on tablets. You shouldn’t give your kids to play on a smartphone at least until the age of seven.
Many parents allow toddlers and young kids to watch videos on YouTube without any restriction. You don’t know what content they may be exposed to and what information they can accidentally reveal. But if you think that your kids should use YouTube, at least restrict them to YouTube for Kids.
Learn together about online privacy
As kids get older, the way in which they use the Internet changes, as well. The aforementioned age of seven is the right time to discuss the importance of privacy with your kids.
Let them know that many people don’t show their real identity on the Internet. Explain to them that they might be exposed to various attempts of data theft via applications or other Internet options.
Also, tell them that they should not use the Internet without your supervision.
In that light, put your computer in the living room, so that you have full control of the content your kids use on the Web.
The same goes for you and your partner. If you use the computer in the living room, your children will follow suit. Also, if you reduce your screen time on mobiles, your kids probably won’t insist on using them that much.
Moreover, each member of the family needs to take care of their digital footprint. Every piece of information you leave on the Internet stays somewhere out there, even when you delete it. So, be careful as a family with your posts and comments you leave online.
Put social media accounts under supervision
Some parents publish photos of their kids on social media from day one. As kids are growing constantly exposed to mobiles, cameras, and other devices, they want to see all these things work at an early age.
Many parents fall into the trap of using social media while their kids are at home. This habit will raise kids’ interest in having their own social media account. This is where parents need to be strict towards themselves and their kids.
So, parents should reduce their own exposure to social media. For instance, you can use one of the time-measuring apps to control the time you spend on Facebook, Instagram, etc. Most social media require that kids are at least 13 years old in order to open an account. However, many children register to social networks much earlier, lying about their age. This may put kids and the entire family at the risk of being exposed to various online scams.
Even when they reach the age of 13, they shouldn’t hurry with launching their social media accounts. Once they start using these networks, parents need to spend even more time explaining to them how to use them in the best possible way to stay safe on the Web.
Monitor online learning
In this day and age, many kids switching to e-learning on a global scale. Due to improved technological possibilities, children can learn from the comfort of their homes. No matter if your kid attends a public school in Liverpool or one of the top primary London schools, there are more and more options for online lessons.
Older primary schoolchildren and younger teenagers getting education that way spend some a lot of their time on the Web. This is where parents need to take control and monitor their online learning. You should restrict the number of websites your kids can visit only to the ones necessary for their lessons. Do that on all devices on which your kids attend online lessons.
That way, they won’t be exposed to inappropriate online content, plus, they’ll stay concentrated on what they’re learning.
When your children reach the school age, you should let them spend some time on the Internet, but under your control. Also, each family member should follow privacy rules and avoid visiting suspicious websites. If you have your kids’ online habits under the supervision and you use the Internet safely and securely, you’ll significantly reduce the risk of exposure to hacker attacks and data theft. What’s more, you’ll protect your kids from potentially dangerous online content and communication.