Keeping Your Family Safe On-Line During Isolation

Safety First!

Children are going to be on their computers more than ever during this difficult time. They will be completing schoolwork on-line as well as keeping in touch with their school friends and family members, which is so important for them whilst we are all being kept isolated. So now, more than ever parents need to be exercising vigilance with regards to keeping children safe whilst on-line.

  • Let your children know that, just like the real world, there are safe and unsafe things on the internet. Explain that there are often things that happen online that can be misleading or frightening and that some things are designed to get a lot of attention.
  • Talk about what personal information they should share online, even with friends. Advise them to create different passwords for different sites.
  • Try to avoid having your children use the computer or device whilst hidden away. It is best to install a computer in a family room with the screen facing outwards.
  • Do read website and app ratings before allowing your children to visit or download them. Why not explore popular sites and apps together.
  • Let your children know that it is absolutely the right thing to do to tell you, a teacher or another adult they trust if they are not happy about something they’ve seen or been asked to do online.
  • Ask your children not to download files (music, games, screensavers) or buy or install software or apps without asking. Turning off in-app purchasing capabilities on all devices should help.
  • Install parental control software to restrict the sites your children can access and limit them from sharing sensitive information, such as name, age, address, phone number etc. Should your children accidentally access an unsuitable website, delete it from the ‘history’ folder and add the address to the Parental Control Filter List.
  • Use the built-in security and safety features within your browser. Set high security and privacy settings for social networking sites, such as Facebook. Switch off or adjust settings using GPS or location tracking – many apps and social networking sites use software to locate where the user is.
  • Install internet security software on all devices and update it regularly.

The NSPCC website has a couple of on-line quizzes for 7-11 year and 11-14 year olds. Why not incorporate this into their home-schooling timetable? Go to www.nspcc.org.uk and search for online safety quiz.

mother and girl on computer

Philip Brooks