This week we discuss Internet Safety with a focus on child safety when using the internet.
My eleven year old son got a gift of a tablet for Christmas. He has internet access and I am concerned that he may have access to inappropriate material online. Is there any way of preventing him from accessing certain websites? Can I block certain websites completely and can I filter others? What general advice would you offer?
When it comes to internet safety, basic safeguards are easy to put in place. The tablet (or laptop etc.) will come with its own parental control options. Video tutorials are also easily available online which will offer guidance on security settings. Further, as an additional security, one may purchase parental control packages which will block unsuitable websites, monitor a child’s emails and the chat rooms they are visiting and will also send reports to parents.
You should also consider changing the Google search toolbar for Google SafeSearch which will automatically filter out explicit content. Similarly, you may turn on YouTube Safety Mode which will also filter out inappropriate content. Also, turn off “suggested auto-play” on YouTube to stop your child from viewing content that they have not directly selected on YouTube videos.
Facebook requires a user to be aged at least 13 years to create an account. WhatsApp, which allows users to share messages and photos, has a minimum age requirement of 16 years.
Banning a child from a particular social network website may be pointless as technology changes so fast and children will always find a new website or app that parents haven’t heard of. It may be best to impress upon a child that sharing of personal information such as age, school, address or phone number is forbidden and to be as nice to people as you would in the playground.