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How to keep children safe when they use the internet

Much of the internet is a fabulous resource for kids, whether it’s Wikipedia for helping with homework, online games, social networks, videos, music and more. However, there are an equal number of websites that you wouldn’t want them going anywhere near.

One of the greatest challenges facing parents these days is how to ensure that their children remain safe online. With so many kids now having tablets, smartphones, or PCs of their own, it’s increasingly difficult to know what content they access and who they’re meeting on the web.

A recent study by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) at Oxford University revealed that of 515 interviewed 12- to 15-year-old children, 14 percent had had a ‘negative’ online experience in the past year, 8 percent had been contacted by strangers, almost 4 percent had seen someone pretend to be them online, 2 percent has seen sexual content that made them feel uncomfortable, and three percent had seen something that scared them.

A huge majority (90 percent) of the children’s parents either did not know what parental filters were or they were not using them, and the children of those who were using them were at risk of viewing the wrong sort of information.

Filters could be returning damaging false-positives that could make them more vulnerable or ill-informed than before they read the information.

The OII suggests that rather than parental filters, which it says should be turned off as early as possible, we need to properly educate children. Future research into keeping kids safe online should “look carefully at the long-term value of filters and see whether they protect young people at a wider range of ages”.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to go down the route of parental controls or better education without the rose-tinted glasses is really up to you.

If you would like advice on how easily it is to protect your children and teenagers from the dangers of the internet please call Anthony on 01234 358074 or 07891926440

also have a look at the nspcc website www.nspcc.org.uk/children-safe/share-aware