UNDER-18s using online platforms can prove a dangerous activity if not supervised, as many criminals target children online.
With that in mind, the security experts at Specops Software have provided a five-step guide on how to protect your children online.
But first, how much would online bullying affect your child? Specops Software got in touch with Lee Chambers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant, to get a better understanding of this.
Online bullying can affect your child’s mental health in both the short and long term. Children who are bullied online are at increased risk of suffering from mental health problems and difficulties acclimatising at school. It can also cause long term damage to your child’s self-esteem.
So, what can you do to keep your child safe online?
1. Discuss online safety from an early age
You need to educate both yourself and your child about the different types of dangers they could be facing online, how to spot them and what to do if they’ve been targeted. It is very important that you teach them to be open with you and inform you if they feel like something is wrong.
2. Know your child’s behaviour
When children become victims of online bullying or other kinds of threats, you will be able to notice a change in their behaviours if you pay attention. Are they more apathetic? Are they in a bad mood after using their device? These are the things that parents need to keep an eye on.
3. Set rules and always stick to them
As an adult, you should be in control. Set boundaries on what your child can and cannot watch online. Make sure you take steps like talking to your internet provider to block any pornographic content. It is also important to limit their screen time.
4. Be aware of what devices your child is using
In order for you to be able to supervise your child online, it’s important to know what devices they are using. Check their browsing history from time to time, to make sure they are not accessing dangerous content. A good tip is to also check the tech recycling bin, you might find surprising things there too!
5. Use parental blocks
Most internet providers offer Parental Control to help you keep your children protected. It’s important to not neglect these and make good use of them. It will save you the time and stress of constantly checking certain sites which would automatically be blocked, and it can make sure your child is spending only a certain amount of time on their device.