Practical tips on protecting your child
With current media outlets raising concerns around hacked videos and suicide challenges infiltrating children’s video content, it really is time to take online safety for your child seriously. Perhaps we have become too complacent and trusting in the video platforms we use to filter and curate content for us.
The internet is a fantastic place for children to learn, create and have fun, but they may occasionally have to deal with a variety of challenging issues.
These might include cyberbullying, the pressure to take part in sexting, encouragement to self-harm, viewing pornography, as well as various other concerns. But there are positive things you can do to equip yourself and your child, and support them in resolving any issues they may encounter.
We are ultimately responsible for the content they consume, and yes, we really should always know what our young child is watching.
It’s our job as a parent to also get to grips with what they may come across on the internet, and how to get help if you should need it.
It’s so crucial to create an environment where you can discuss these issues with your child. A super handy guide to starting those conversations can be found here.
“Preemptively addressing something with your kid is always better,” said Dr. Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist.
She says it might be a good idea to gently ask your younger kids if they know about the recent concerns.
“Something like, Ya know, there’s some scary things that pop up on phones and tablets and if you ever see something like that, come get me.”
And for your older kids?
Maybe get them to promise they’ll talk to you about the Momo Challenge if it’s sent to them. It’s not realistic to simply take their phone away, but let them know this is cyberbullying, it’s potentially dangerous, and that you’re trusting them to let you know what’s going on.
“Especially as kids get older and they are teenagers, they want some of that autonomy, and they deserve it as long as they can show you they’re responsible enough,” Walls said.
Put yourself in control
Install parental controls on your home broadband and any internet-enabled devices. Set up a user account for your child on the main device they use and make sure other accounts in the household are password-protected so that younger children can’t access them by accident.
What are parental controls?
Parental controls are the names for a group of settings that put you in control of what content your child can see. Combined with privacy settings these can help you protect your children from the things they shouldn’t see or experience whilst online.
How to set parental controls
Many parents are put off using controls and settings as they think they will be difficult to set up, or complicated to use. There are lots of step by steps guides online, which can help make it simple and straightforward.
Internet Matters have created over 70 parental control how-to guides for major networks, devices, services and entertainment providers in your home.
There’s lots of really useful resources out there to help you keep your children browsing, gaming and watching safely – The Dadsnet recommends the following to get started: