Online safety tips for parents
By: Shell Energy
11 Oct 2023
The internet offers many benefits to you and your children, but it's not without its risks. Nobody wants to deny their child the opportunity to learn and connect online – and as savvy parents, you don’t have to.
With these simple tips, your children can enjoy the benefits of being online, while you have peace of mind that they’re using the internet safely.
How do you keep your kids safe online?
The first step to making sure your children are safe online is being aware of the digital landscape.
Here’s a simple way to help you and your children navigate the maze that is the internet:
Be mindful of how your child is using the internet, and open to the ways that it can benefit them. Educational video content may help your child improve their school work, or sharing their digital creations could provide a healthy outlet. The internet can be full of opportunity when a safe space is created first.
Take an interest in how your child uses the internet, and make sure they feel comfortable asking you questions. Encouraging open conversation will give them the confidence to talk to you if they come across something unexpected.
Splitting the internet into different zones – such as social media, online gaming, or video streaming – can help identify where your attention is needed. Once you’ve identified zones, setting up restrictions and keeping track of what’s new becomes easier.
Get to grips with what’s popular with your children and their friends, and keep a lookout for potential risks. Technology moves quickly, so it’s important to stay up to date on what you can do to make sure your children use the internet sensibly and safely.
What are the risks to children online?
With cyber security a growing concern, how do you - and your children - know what risks to look out for online? Here are some important things to keep in mind.
If your child loves gaming, terms like, ‘skins’, ‘mods’ and ‘cheats’ may already be in your vocabulary. When you’re not up to speed, it can seem complicated, but one of the best ways to support your gamer is to make sure that the device your child uses is also security protected. Educate children about the dangers of clicking suspicious links in gaming chats, downloading ‘mods’ or ‘cheats’, or sharing any personal information in online communities.
Limiting screen time
One struggle for the modern parent is the task of managing screen time. From homework to gaming and social media, children today can live a lot of their lives online – sometimes to the detriment of their health. We all want to avoid excessive screen time, and the best way to start is to have an open conversation with your children about daily limits. Build a plan together, so you can introduce the limits when the time comes. This will give you peace of mind that there’s no late-night scrolling before school.
Protecting your device from malware
Malware is used by cybercriminals to steal data and damage - or even destroy - a computer system. The user is tricked into downloading the software by clicking on unsafe links, apps or email attachments. Common forms of malware include viruses, spyware and ransomware. Alongside robust antivirus software, it’s important to monitor your child’s activities online. Malware will often be disguised as something exciting – such as a viral video or the promise of a shortcut in a video game.
Phishing, smishing and vishing
These peculiar words are all forms of fraud that aim to steal personal identity data and other valuable information. Phishing is used to describe fraud that uses emails containing malicious links. But as technology develops, so do new methods of fraudulent activity. Smishing is malware that comes in the form of a text (SMS) message, and vishing is the telephone equivalent. With potential access to many devices, children may be particularly vulnerable to revealing personal information in online social communities. It's a great idea to talk about these forms of fraud so they know what to look out for.
How do you set up parental controls for the internet?
While it’s helpful to take a proactive role in keeping your child safe online, it’s hard to check every link, attachment and webpage. So make sure you install a robust antivirus software across your devices as a failsafe.
Find internet security that works for you
Our broadband customers can access award-winning online protection for up to 10 devices from F-Secure, with a free three-month trial. Features include virus protection, banking protection, gaming mode, and family protection, to help keep your digital life secure. Offer Terms apply.
Ideal for busy families, parental control features allow you to block websites, manage screen time, filter content, and oversee app installations.
With multi-platform protection, F-Secure includes:
Parental control for laptops
Prevent connection to unsafe websites, so your child can browse, game or stream without risk of being exposed to harmful content.
Parental control on iPhone and Android
Protect a range of devices to make sure your online activity is kept safe.
Parental control on YouTube
Filter access to YouTube and social media, or simply set time restrictions. Parental controls include a ‘Bedtime’ feature and customisable daily limits.