If your kids are old enough to use an iPad, you need some control over what they see and do online – this is to protect them and to ensure they know they can talk to you if they see anything they don’t understand, says Samantha Edwards, Cyber Security Expert at NortonLifeLock New Zealand.
For kids, spending time online might involve schoolwork, socialising, and entertainment. But not everything online is suited for kids and teens. Think of the internet as a big city, but without an adequate police force. Here are five ways to keep your kids safe online:
1. Schedule screen-time limits for kids and devices
It might seem like your kids shuffle from one screen to the next throughout the day — spending time on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs.
Talk to your kids and determine on a daily time limit for screens, and agree on what they can and cannot do online during that time. On Norton 360 Premium’s parental controls, you can then put in all those settings for each child, and rest assured they won’t be going over their time limits. This can also help reduce conflicts at home.
2. Monitor what your kids are doing online
If your kids have their own email addresses – even school email addresses – or social media accounts, it’s a good idea to check in on what they're doing. Let your kids know you're going to monitor their devices and why. Let them know it's not about snooping, but about safety. To get started, NortonLifeLock is offering six months of Norton Family for free to help parents supervise their kids’ online activities.
Knowing what your kids are watching, searching for, and downloading can open up a line of communication with them. For instance, your children might be dealing with an issue they don't know how to bring up. Or they may not know when they've encountered something unsafe online. If they happen to run into inappropriate content or online behaviour, you can discuss and educate them.
3. Set rules about using social media
Social media is challenging for tweens and teens. While it can help strengthen relationships, it can also distract them from in-person communication, harm self-esteem, and expose them to cyberbullying.
Talk with your kids about smart social media habits and the best ways to use their devices. Encourage them to pay attention to how they feel before, during, and after they use social media. Talk about what's making them feel good or not-so-good. You can help your kids resolve issues, set social media limits, and use privacy features and content filters.
Moreover, you can model good habits by limiting the time you’re using your own smartphone, and being conscious of device use when your kids are around, as they take in everything they see.
Parents are increasingly concerned about the inappropriate content their children are being innocently exposed to on super-popular Tik Tok.
4. Stay on top of the information your kids share online
Information is currency in today’s online environment. It can be a trade-off when downloading an app or signing up for a new online service. The risk? Children could unintentionally reveal too much, particularly personal details.
Get familiar with the websites your kids visit, the social media they use, and the apps they download. Read reviews. Check out the site's terms and conditions to see what kind of information the platform tracks and stores.
5. Limit access to websites
Landing on an inappropriate website can be as easy as missing a keystroke, using a search term that can mean more than one thing, or clicking the wrong link. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, you can set up restrictions on websites, and the types of downloads you deem inappropriate through Norton Family. Continue teaching your kids how to evaluate trustworthy websites, and to tell you if they come across a website they aren’t sure about.