Monitoring your child’s Internet usage is a very important factor when considering what websites you would find acceptable for them to visit. Even so, that doesn’t mean you must sit with them every time they want to access the Lego Star Wars or Barbie websites.
There are numerous ways you can ensure you are keeping your kids safe online. Most broadband providers offer a free child filter so you can be sure your children aren’t browsing websites that they shouldn’t be. If you are after some extra protection, then you can buy additional software from third parties that will stop your children from being able to access unsuitable content.
Here, Broadband Compare UK have put together a beginner’s guide to keeping your kids safe when they’re on the internet.
Any UK broadband provider worth their salt will offer some sort of filter that restricts access to certain kinds of websites. Those which you consider to be harmful to children, such as websites about drugs, pornography websites, or anything else unpleasant for children can be blocked, so they won’t be able to view them.
These filters can be set up when you sign up for the service, and some providers allow you to add them at a later date as well. If you no longer need the filters, then you can switch them off via your account settings on your broadband provider’s website.
Parental control software is another popular way to restrict your child’s browsing. Again, some providers offer this service as a freebie bundled in with your broadband package. One thing you must bear I mind with parental control software is that it usually only works on the device it is installed on.
The advantage of this software is that it doesn’t only restrict the websites your child is accessing, protecting them from pornographic or violent content. It also means you can monitor your child’s browsing activity, so you will know exactly what websites they are viewing. Some even log search terms and other forms of website access, so you will know if your child is becoming a little ‘curious’ in their internet use.
The other big plus point is that you can place time restrictions on when your child is using the internet, so no more cries of “just five more minutes pleeeeeeease” when it is time for bed.
The devices in the home that can access the internet generally have the ability to impose restrictions on your child’s internet activity. This means that there is usually settings that you can modify to stop your child from stumbling across harmful sites. If you have third party software that can only be used on one device, then this can be a helpful feature.
Devices such as iPads have parental control options within the standard settings, so they are very easy to access and modify. You can add passwords to the settings so that your child can’t change them, and you can even stop your child from being able to make in-app purchases, so they aren’t accidentally going to rack up massive credit card bills by buying all sorts of extras in their game of choice.
Most web browsers nowadays come with handy restriction settings as standard, so you can modify these and control what you child is viewing. These can be utilised in conjunction with any other filtering software that you use, so they add even more protection.
Google Chrome, for example, allows you to set up different user levels, all of which are password protected. So, your child can be set up as a ‘supervised user’, while you set yourself and any other adults who you trust as ‘managers’, so you can control what the kids are viewing via your browser.
Don’t rely solely on this system, though. Use it in conjunction with others to bolster your existing level of protection.
With many websites, you will be able to apply content filters to ensure that what your child is viewing on that particular website is suitable for them. Sites like YouTube have this feature, and services that connect to the internet like iTunes all have this option that works with your existing software.
Be sure that you aren’t just relying on this method to restrict viewing, though. Older kids will more than likely discover how to turn these settings off as they become curious about viewing things you would rather they didn’t.
Get Safe Online, an Internet safety initiative, has plenty of helpful additional information relating to staying safe online, and protecting young ones from unpleasant content. You can visit their website here, to find out more.