This is a collaborative post, so I may have received payment for including one or more of the links it contains about technology.
With the wealth of technology available to you and your children these days, it’s often difficult to keep up with what your children have access to.
For the most part, having an open conversation about these issues can be helpful. But you should make sure to read up on these issues in order to keep your children safe online.
TV and streaming technology
If your children are using any platforms such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix or Amazon Prime, check that the settings on the services are set to an appropriate age limit.
For some services, like Netflix, it allows for each user to have their own account with its own age limitations. But remember to ensure that the other accounts have password protection to prevent them circumventing the parental controls.
Similar to the TV & streaming parental options, most modern games consoles have the technology to implement parental controls. This can prevent your children from accessing games outside of their age limit.
Additionally, ensure that any options to communicate with others online is done with friends they know.
If need be, there will usually be options to disable the ability to talk to others online.
Alternatively, you could offer to your children the option to play games in a room that is shared (such as a living room). This ensures they can be monitored, mainly when talking to others in their games.
If your kids are old enough to use social media, you should make sure to talk to them about how to keep safe online to protect them from anything harmful.
Information Sharing – it’s essential for your kids to understand that the information they share online is available to many people. In some cases, data can be made available publicly to strangers who shouldn’t have this information and could have malicious intent.
Stranger Danger – if your child is communicating with others online, talk to them about who they are communicating with. You should discourage them from talking to strangers where possible and explain to them the dangers of strangers and those who are not who they say they are online.
Posting Pictures – this is a significant issue for children and young adults. Discussing the idea of how pictures that are online rarely ever go offline and that they are publicly available in some cases should allow for them to understand the significance. Additionally, even suggesting that they avoid uploading pictures where possible would be a good step to provide an alternative.
For those that are in their teenage years, this message may need to be discussed further. Particularly due to the prevalence of “sexting” and other image sharing forms.
Wi-Fi and Internet access technology
While Wi-Fi in the home is something for everyone to use, be sure to tell your children how your Wi-Fi should not be shared with anyone. And that the Wi-Fi can be a route to any device connected to it.
Changing the default password to something new can be a good precaution on its own. Often the router’s default password will be visible on the back of the device. Or in some cases, any prospective hackers could discover the default passwords online for specific router models.
Meanwhile, discuss the risks of using some supposed free or public Wi-Fi connections. In some cases, these Wi-Fi signals are actually a means for malicious individuals to snoop on any information passing through their Wi-Fi.
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