Children spend a lot of time online, particularly once they hit their teens. Often they are playing games, doing homework, chatting to friends, using social media and watching films or music videos.
Just as children are taught about Stranger Danger, it is important they know how to stay safe online. That’s because cybercriminals are targeting children because they are more trusting and less sceptical than adults.
Here are a few tips to keeping children safe online.
Children get very excited about games they play and love to try new editions or early releases. Hackers set up fake game apps for children to click on which download malware allowing the hackers to access login information, bank details or even give them remote access to your computer or phone. Before anyone clicks on the app or link, they need to be sure it is genuine.
Depending on your child’s age, you should ask them to let you check any app or pop-up before they click on it or, if they are old enough, make sure they always use the official store to download apps.
You can also set up online restrictions so they have to put in a password or get authorisation before downloading apps or files or buying anything online.
You should also turn on parental controls on your children’s devices. If you use Windows, for example, you can click on ‘family options’ under System Settings and enable parental controls to keep children safe. This also allows you to block sites you don’t want them to visit and to see which websites, apps and games they have visited.
Parental controls are also available on other devices including iPhones and iPads under Settings as well as Android devices using the Google Play app.
Likewise using parental controls will also protect your child on social media. You should also set their social media profiles to private so they do not get taken in by online predators.
Parental controls can be set up on your children’s Xbox, Nintendo Switch or PlayStation as gaming predators will use the chat features to gain their victim’s trust, just as they do on social media.
Setting up parental controls
Setting up parental controls on the gaming console means you can stop children from communicating with other players via messaging or chat. If they want to engage online with fellow gamers, you should make sure they only chat online to people they actually know and make sure their profile doesn’t include their real name as their username.
You could consider using a VPN for an extra layer of protection and make sure your security software is up-to-date.
Most importantly, talk to your children about online safety so they are aware of the dangers. Tell them they must let you know if they feel uncomfortable about anything they see online or if anyone does try to contact them.
For further information about internet security, upgrading your devices or getting superfast, secure wifi, please get in touch.