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Guest Post: Online Safety

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Guest Post | Posted on 25-10-2013

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As technology evolves so do privacy settings and controls meaning parents have a responsibility to ensure they are aware of the changes and the ways in which they can keep their children safe whilst surfing the Internet.

There is a great deal of pressure on parents to restrict the access children have to sites that may contain inappropriate content. With the importance of technology constantly growing, the younger generation are feeling the impact and they too express interest in using devices such as a smartphone or tablet computer.

With so many different forms of technology now being present in the household, there is a greater need to understand each item and the controls that are present which will prevent children from accessing adult material or being targeted by other Internet users in a negative way. 1 in 25 children have experienced online sexual solicitation, where another Internet user has contacted them inappropriately.

A recent survey determined that only 3 of the 15 top web-filtering services blocked 100% of pornographic sites meaning children are still able to see inappropriate content. There is now a greater need to establish as many of the privacy controls as possible.

The Steps to Take

Most Internet providers will offer privacy controls that can be put in place by parents keen to protect their children whilst allowing them to use modern technology.

Content Filters

Filters provide parents the opportunity to block and restrict certain sites they do not want their children to see. It reduces the chances of adult material being seen or pop ups from emerging while on certain sites. Filters can be set dependant on the age of the minor, with younger children needing stronger restrictions whilst older children can be trusted to have more freedom online.

Timed Access, Monitors and Locks

Children would happily spend a majority of their free time surfing the Internet and using devices. There is a setting that will turn off access for users during certain times such as homework or bedtime. Parents can also monitor a child’s online usage, including the sites they look at and any online movements. Locking inappropriate sites will prevent children from accessing adult material from any site so they only use and visit relevant and appropriate websites.

Be Responsible

Before taking steps to secure the Internet, parents must have a discussion with their children. An explanation of the dangers and why the controls are to be put in place will highlight the need to stay safe online and make children aware of the sites they should be looking at and the ones they should stay away from.

Set Ground Rules

Parents need to be strict when it comes to home technology. Children need to know there are boundaries and restrictions on when they can use devices and how long for. For instance, no phones at bedtime or the use of a tablet only after homework has been completed.

The safety of children is the main priority for parents and online safety should not be ignored. There is a need to prevent children from being exposed to adult content, harassment and from receiving unwanted attention. Parents must understand technology and the controls they come with, gaining peace of mind about the content that can be seen, before allowing children to use them.

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