Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Back to online learning - 5 things we do to help our kids be safe online

It's back to remote learning.  The internet is a fantastic tool for learning and socialising but, sadly, it isn’t risk-free. For us, it’s vital to recognise the risks associated with surfing the net and to try and implement effective measures to ensure our kids can stay safe online. To get started, we take a look at these five things we can do to protect our kids when they’re using the internet:

1. Keep devices in communal areas

Keeping laptops, tablets and desktop PCs in communal areas of our home can make it easier for us to monitor our kid’s internet usage. Instead of allowing them just to use computers in their bedrooms, we try and help them keep devices in our living room, kitchen or even sitting on the stairs. This lets us see exactly what websites our kids are visiting and helps us to keep track of their online behaviour.

2. Monitor mobile usage

The rise of mobile internet means parents are required to keep a close eye on their kid’s phones too. An easy way to do this is to install an app that’s compatible with your Android phone or iOS phone. Being able to view our kids text messages, call history and set parental controls, as well as using GPS to confirm the phone’s location, helps us to monitor your child’s internet use and keep them safe online.

3. Identify potential issues

No-one knows your child better than you, so be sure to identify potential areas which may be problematic for your family. If like us your child is on the spectrum, you may want to pay extra attention to their interactions with other users. With online guides dedicated to keeping kids with ASD safe online, you can create a bespoke plan that works for your family.

4. Use ‘SafeSearch’ features

Virtually all online experiences begin with a search engine, but we don’t want our kids to be exposed to any inappropriate content. Google’s SafeSearch feature ensures only family-friendly results are returned when a user searches for content and other search engines have similar options. Although these search filters aren’t always 100% guaranteed to be effective, they are certainly worth using.

5. Talk to our kids about being online and the risks

Today’s kids are growing up in a digital era, so it’s critical that they’re aware of the risks. Talking to your children about the potential risks they’ll face and ensuring they know how to stay safe online is one of the most important lessons you can teach them.  It's easy to start by keeping conversations about what they are watching online normal - chat about what they do and don't enjoy about it - and let them know they can always ask you about anything they find without judgement.  

Older kids may need to know more so letting them know about things from cyberbullying and unsolicited content to ransomware and computer viruses, means they might be able to know how to identify online threats.    

I've got links to parental guides for all sorts of social media and online gaming that I can check through too.  If you've got any great pieces of advice for this - please let us know. 



4 comments:

  1. I'm praying for all the children learning on-line with virtual school. I'm glad I missed this aspect of the event, my kids are doing virtual college. What they are missing is painful, but a pandemic doesn't care, so.... Prayers and Encouragement to all students (and their parents)

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  2. My daughter is only 3 so is happy to have parental controls on her devices but once we were watching YouTube and it appeared to be Peppa Pig but then suddenly morphed into a hideous cartoon about the benefits of terrorism- it was awful and very difficult to explain to her. Thankfully we were watching alongside her #KCACOLS

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  3. Great advice as always, thank you Ann. I don't have the worry of my son connecting with the wrong people online, as he doesn't have the ability to (not yet anyway), but I sometimes worry that he might accidentally see something upsetting, and not be able to talk to us about it.
    Thank you again for linking up with #KCACOLS, I hope you come back next time, too x

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  4. My son is 7 and fortunately he is in school at the mo. The home learning school have set up is really good and i dont typically have any online worries at the mo.#KCACOLS

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